Urgent action on pesticides

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Oct 13, 2007, 4:55:09 AM10/13/07
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Dear Kathy,

Have you already been approached about the following matter?


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: *Emma Hockridge, Soil Association*
Date: Oct 12, 2007 9:16 PM
Subject: Urgent action on pesticides

Dear friend

I am writing to ask you urgently to email or write to your MEP about
some European legislation on pesticides that the European Parliament
will vote on in a plenary session on around 23 October. As with many
environmental and food safety issues, crucial decisions affecting all of
us are now taken at European level, and pesticide safety is no
exception. The European Commission are introducing new, Europe-wide laws
on pesticides, and there is a chance that these will actually strengthen
protection of the public from dangerous sprays.

The European Parliament's Environment Committee has agreed several key
amendments to the proposed law, but these now have to be agreed by the
European Parliament, and all MEPs have a vote. The chemical industry and
the UK's National Farmers' Union are lobbying hard to have all these
changes rejected by the Parliament, while Georgina Downs of UK
Pesticides Campaign, who initiated many of these proposals, has been
working to have them accepted. I have listed below five of the key
amendments that the MEPs will have to agree or reject. If you feel any
of these are important, and should be agreed by the European Parliament,
please let your MEP know. You can find your MEP's name and contact
details at: _
_*_http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/public.do?language=en _*

Many thanks to all of you who asked Gordon Brown 'to Wake Up!' to the
benefits of organic food and farming, by feeding him an organic
breakfast. It is still not to late to join in if you haven't already
done so - we'll be reporting the number of hits to the Prime Minister -
open this link to play and email it on to your friends and colleagues: _
_*_http://www.soilassociation.org/wakeupgordon _*
<http://www.soilassociation.org/wakeupgordon>* *

Best wishes,


Emma Hockridge
The Soil Association
0117 914 2433 / ehock...@soilassociation.org

Prohibiting pesticide use in and around public areas like people's
homes, hospitals, public parks, playgrounds and schools*
The Environment Committee voted in favour of an amendment to prohibit
pesticide use in and around public areas, including residential areas,
parks, public gardens, sports and recreation grounds, school grounds,
playgrounds, and in the vicinity of public healthcare facilities
(clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, health resorts, hospices),
particularly, although not exclusively, to protect sensitive groups,
such as, babies, children, pregnant women, embryos and foetuses, the
elderly, those with pre-existing medical conditions and who may be
taking medication, along with all other vulnerable groups. The amendment
also specified that the no-spray zones should be substantial and that in
all these areas non-chemical alternatives should be used. *

Vulnerable groups to include residents subject to high pesticide
exposure over the long term*
The Environment Committee voted in favour of an amendment that described
vulnerable groups as: "Persons needing specific consideration when
assessing the acute and chronic health effects of plant protection
products. These include pregnant and nursing women, embryos, and
fetuses, infants and children, the elderly, people who are ill and those
taking medication, workers and residents subject to high pesticide
exposure over the long term." *

Residents to have the right to know what is being sprayed next to where
they live*
Environment Committee voted in favour of an obligation to inform
residents and neighbours about pesticide spraying in their locality, as
well as the requirement for farmers and other pesticide users to provide
information on the pesticides used directly to residents and neighbours
who request access to it. *

Call a pesticide a pesticide (not a 'plant protection product'!)*
The Environment Committee voted in favour of an amendment to change the
entire terminology used throughout the adopted text, including the
title, from 'Plant Protection Products' to 'pesticides'. The term 'plant
protection products' attempts to put a positive spin on chemicals that
are deliberately designed to be toxic. The use of this wording
throughout the Commission's proposal, including the title, was
inappropriate as many members of the public will not be familiar with
this terminology, and its use could lead to confusion amongst members of
the public. *

Give priority to ways of growing healthy crops without using pesticides*
The Environment Committee also voted in favour of a number of amendments
for the prioritization of non-chemical methods of plant protection and
pest and crop management. The only real solution to eliminate the
adverse impacts of pesticides is to take a preventative approach with
the widespread adoption of truly sustainable non-chemical and natural
methods of plant protection and pest and crop management (including
rotation, physical and mechanical control and natural predator
management), as happens in organic systems. This protects not only
public health, but animals, wildlife, air, water, soil, food and the
wider environment. Reliance on complex chemicals designed to kill
plants, insects or other forms of life, cannot be classified as
sustainable. *

**To find your local MEP go to:- **_
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/public.do?language=en_** *

If you would like more detailed information on the European proposals
you can contact Georgina Downs of UK Pesticides Campaign who has
prepared a briefing for MEPs * http://www.pesticidescampaign.co.uk/*

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