EU extends glyphosate licence for just 18 months

The EU Commission has announced a temporary 18-month extension for the licence to use glyphosate. This allows them to consider further analysis from their chemical testing agency (ECHA), due by the end of 2017.
person in white suit spraying weed killer on plants.

The Commission had tried to relicense glyphosate no less than 3 times this year. But continued opposition from some member states, and lobbying from numerous organisations, including Garden Organic, has forced the EU to reassess. This temporary extension is a victory in the ongoing battle to ban toxic chemicals.

Commissioners have proposed certain restrictions, which may or may not be taken up by member states (they are not obligatory). These include:

  • a ban on the co-formulant POE-tallowamine from glyphosate-based products. This is excellent news, as there is every indication that these co-formulants are more toxic than glyphosate itself
    See Glyphosate - the Debate
  • to reinforce scrutiny of pre-harvest uses of glyphosate. If enforced, this would mean considerably reduced glyphosate in the harvested crop as well as in the soil.
  • to “minimise” use in specific areas (public parks and playgrounds). Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean “eliminate” or “ban” and can be interpreted as allowing continued use.

Of course, we do not know yet know the consequences as Britain leaves the EU.

"We applaud the member states who opposed the relicensing, as well as our fellow NGOs calling for a glyphosate ban," says James Campbell. " But above all we congratulate and thank our members and supporters who joined us in the battle. This war is not over. We will continue in our researches and to voice our concerns - particularly in the use of glyphosate herbicides in Britain's public parks and recreation areas. Garden Organic members will again lead the way by demonstrating that you don't need toxic chemicals to manage weeds."