An EU proposal to phase out the use of the ozone-depleting pesticide methyl bromide by 2001 is "foolhardy" and should be rethought in light of a recent US government decision to defer its phase-out there, a UK trade association has said. The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is calling on EU member states not to approve the European Commission's proposal (ENDS Daily 1 July) because, it says, it would harm the competitiveness of EU farmers. It argues that a sufficiently wide range of alternatives is not going to be available in time and points to a US Congress decision last month not to enforce a scheduled ban of methyl bromide use by 2001. According to the BPCA, the Congress decision reflects the fact that suitable alternatives have not been developed despite a concerted research effort in the USA. In Europe, there has been less research and the situation is even worse, it says. The organisation's call will be welcomed by southern EU states, which last month refused to support the Commission's proposal on the grounds that it would harm their farmers (ENDS Daily 7 October). It comes as environment ministers from around the world are due to gather in Cairo on Monday to discuss further controls under the UN Montreal protocol on the protection of the ozone layer.
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