The European Commission is proposing to renew the use of the controversial and widely used herbicide glyphosate in the EU for 10 years in a text published on Wednesday, after a report saw no reason to block it.
The European Union‘s 27 member states will discuss the proposal on Friday. It has to be approved by a weighted majority of countries during a meeting on October 13.
Current authorisation expired in December 2022 but was extended by a year pending a scientific study of the herbicide, one of the most widely used weed-killers in the world.
The proposal comes after the European Food Safety Authority in July said it had not found “any critical areas of concern” preventing glyphosate from being reauthorised, sparking a backlash from environmental groups.
The commission’s proposal would authorise its usage until December 15, 2033, double the previous five-year authorisation but less than the 15-year period initially planned.
The text says the use of glyphosate must be accompanied by “risk mitigation measures”.
For example, there must be a “non-sprayed buffer strip” of five to 10 metres (16 to 33 feet) in a field and equipment used to drastically reduce “spray drift”.
The EU agency’s report noted there were gaps in the data in some areas, and “identified a high long-term risk to mammals” in 12 of 23 of the proposed uses of glyphosate.
To address this, the commission urged member states, in charge of issuing permits at a national level and setting conditions of use, to “pay particular attention” to effects on the environment.
The text also now bans glyphosate’s use for desiccation — drying a crop before harvest.
The European Chemicals Agency last year said scientific evidence did not justify classifying glyphosate as a carcinogen.