CHEMICAL: A commitment for our farmers

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I write in response to the letter from Kenneth McDonald condemning my support of glyphosate, (Northumberland Gazette, May 11).

I think Mr McDonald may have misinterpreted both the EU’s position and my own in relation to the use of glyphosate by farmers.

First, he suggests that the EU presently bans the pesticide and that I am arguing against that stance.

I am happy to inform readers that glyphosate is not banned by the European Union. The product’s licence has come up for renewal and has been subject to lengthy testing by the EU’s European Food Safety Authority, which has approved its continued use, having tested it against its strict safety protocols.

The European Parliament then voted in April last year to approve its continued use.

Due to the unique bureaucratic and undemocratic nature of the EU, that vote was not enough to confirm the continued use of glyphosate as it now needs to be signed off by the European Commission. Nearly a year later, it has still not got round to doing so, causing uncertainty for UK farmers.

Glyphosate is vital to our farmers, including here in Northumberland, and many got in touch with me to express their concern that the Commission had still not signed off its use, despite the EU’s own scientific bodies proclaiming its continued safety.

Local farmers were also keen to seek assurances on its use post-Brexit.

I am not able to speed up the European Commission, but I was able to secure a commitment from the Farming Minister that the UK post-Brexit will always base such licensing decisions on evidence and science, which is good news for our farmers and for the environment.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan,

Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Berwick-upon-Tweed