Common Sense Victory over Brussels Bureaucrats July02

The European Commission has agreed to all but one of the 14 requests from the UK to continue Essential Uses of Pesticides until the end of 2007. Bashir Khanbhai, Conservative MEP for East of England, who has been fighting for these concessions, welcomed this decision as a great victory over petty bureaucracy in Brussels.

Commenting on the decision, Mr Khanbhai said: "This is great news and a huge relief for many fruit and vegetable producers in the Eastern Region. They desperately needed this extra time to develop alternatives for the pesticides they are currently using. For the Vining Pea sector in particular, a core business for vegetable processing factories, the inability to control weeds would have been devastating. We would have suffered a loss of production, a reduction of supplies to factories and retailers, increased cost to consumers, reduced choice for customers, as well as serious job losses in our Region.

Mr Khanbhai added: "As a pharmacist with experience in agri-chemicals, I appreciate the potential health risks for consumers of pesticides and herbicides. However, I know that the chemicals in question are effective and have a good safety record. They are vital for our agricultural production and I could not allow the European Commission to remove them from the Essential Users Register without scientific reasons to support their case.

"I am grateful to the farmers and British Crop Protection Council for keeping me informed of the ongoing developments in this case and of the potential impact of this European Commission Review. I hope they will continue to involve me in the future to promote and protect the interests of Eastern Region farmers and businesses."