Environmental controversy over EC's new pesticide rules

Preparations for harmonising registration procedures for agricultural pesticides across the EC are causing growing consternation among agrochemical producers and environmentalists. Concern is focussing on a European Commission proposal that pesticides should not be approved if they contaminate drinking water in excess of EC limits, and on the restrictions which the harmonisation process may impose on national action to reduce pesticide use.

The harmonisation exercise is based on a 1991 Directive on plant protection products, commonly known as the "authorisation Directive". The legislation is based on Article 43 of the EC Treaty. It must be brought into force by 26 July.

Another Directive on non-agricultural pesticides is currently being drafted by the Commission, using Article 100a as the legal base.

The novelty of both Directives is that they will establish a positive

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