Danish garden pesticide ban draws opposition

Industries, governments, complain to European Commission on proposed law change

A Danish government proposal to ban pesticide use in private gardens has drawn formal protests from several EU countries, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed following a Danish newspaper report on Friday. The UK, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as Danish pesticide manufacturers and importers have all complained to the European Commission over the proposal, a spokesperson for the EPA told ENDS Daily. The proposed ban is intended to reduce risks of pesticide contamination of groundwater, which provides almost all Danish drinking water. A regulation providing for prohibition was forwarded to the European Commission in January, giving the EU and member states a chance to comment before a formal "standstill period" ends in April. According to the EPA, objections centre on whether the proposed Danish law conflicts with single market legislation and whether existing EU directives already govern non-agricultural use of pesticides. A spokesperson for the Danish Crop Protection Association told ENDS Daily that pesticide use in gardens accounted for only about 1% of sales in Denmark. Outlawing their use could lead to people making their own, potentially more dangerous, home-made versions, he said. In a related development, Danish local and regional authorities are in the process of implementing a voluntary commitment to phase out the use of pesticides by 2003 (ENDS Daily 9 October 1998).

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