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News article10 August 2022Directorate-General for Environment

New pesticide rules to help achieve zero pollution targets

In June, the Commission adopted proposals to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030. These flagship legislative proposals will help achieve zero pollution targets and ensure the resilience and security of food supply.

The new rules on chemical pesticides will reduce the environmental footprint of the EU's food system, protect the health and well-being of citizens and agricultural workers, and help mitigate the economic losses that we are already incurring due to declining soil health and pesticide-induced pollinator loss. These are flagship legislative proposals to follow the Biodiversity and Farm to Fork Strategies, and will help ensure the resilience and security of food supply.

The proposal will help build sustainable food systems in line with the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy, whilst ensuring lasting food security and protecting our health.

Scientists and citizens are increasingly concerned about the use of pesticides and the build-up of their residues and metabolites in the environment but the current rules of the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive have proven to be too weak and have been unevenly implemented. Chemical pesticides harm human health and cause biodiversity decline in agricultural areas. They contaminate the air, the water and the wider environment. The Commission is therefore proposing clear and binding rules:

  • Legally binding targets at EU and national level to reduce by 50% the use and the risk of chemical pesticides and the use of the more hazardous pesticides by 2030.
  • Strict new rules on environmentally friendly pest control: New measures will ensure that all farmers and other professional pesticide users practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM), in which alternative environmentally methods of pest prevention and control are considered first.
  • A ban on all pesticides in sensitive areas. The use of all pesticides will be prohibited in places such as urban green areas, including public parks or gardens, playgrounds, schools, recreation or sports grounds, public paths and protected areas in accordance with Natura 2000.

The proposal transforms the existing Directive into a Regulation which will be directly applicable in all Member States. This will tackle the persistent problems with weak and uneven implementation of existing rules over the last decade. 

Supporting the transition

A package of key policies will support farmers and other users, with the transition to more sustainable food production systems, including:

  • New Common Agriculture Policy rules to ensure that farmers are compensated for any costs related to the new rules;
  • Stronger action to increase the range of biological and low-risk alternatives on the market;
  • Research and Development under EU's Horizon programmes in support of new technologies and techniques;
  • An Organic Action Plan, to deliver the Farm to Fork pesticide targets.

For further information

More information on sustainable use of pesticides, including the new proposals is available here: https://food.ec.europa.eu/plants/pesticides/sustainable-use-pesticides_en

Details

Publication date
10 August 2022
Author
Directorate-General for Environment

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