Union Welcomes European Authorisation for Glyphosate Being Extended for Ten Years

Calls for glyphosate to be approved here for all uses including pre-harvest.

NFU Scotland has welcomed the European decision to renew authorisation for the important plant protection product (PPP), glyphosate, for 10 years.

Working with other UK unions and industry stakeholders, NFU Scotland will now seek a similar authorisation for its use, including the ability to use the product pre-harvest. The Health and Safety Executive has yet to begin the reauthorisation process for GB, but NFU Scotland has already started building its case for reauthorisation.

This week, the European Commission adopted a regulation renewing the approval of glyphosate from 16 December 2023 until 15 December 2033. However, the regulation introduces new requirements on the product’s use including its use as a desiccant pre-harvest. For Scottish farmers, where harvest time often coincides with unpredictable weather, the use of glyphosate at this time is important in securing weed-free, healthy crops of cereals and oilseeds.

NFU Scotland’s Combinable Crops Committee Chair, Willie Thomson, who farms at Longniddry in East Lothian said: “NFU Scotland has been involved in a long-running campaign highlighting the importance and benefits of using glyphosate as a crucial tool in producing safe and healthy crops in Scotland.

“We are delighted that science-led evidence has driven the debate at a European level and that the product has been reauthorised for 10 years. We will now work with other Unions and stakeholders to seek a similar authorisation here in the UK.

“We will look to build a robust case, using evidence and case studies from our members, on the need to have glyphosate available for use, but also the need for it to be available for pre-harvest use, if required.

“Scotland’s maritime climate can make harvest challenging and this year was a great case in point. Farmers and those in the grain trade know the disaster that would have ensued this year, around yields and quality, if glyphosate had not been available to use pre-harvest on cereals. Similarly, if we cannot use glyphosate as a desiccant on oilseed rape than we are in trouble, as there is very little practical alternative available just now in Scotland.

“Reauthorisation of glyphosate would also be hugely beneficial as we move to a lower carbon model of farming as it is a vital tool in the success of reduced tillage systems. This is very much in line with Scottish Government’s own stated ambitions.

“Glyphosate is such an important plant protection product that we must all work to ensure it remains permanently available, and not just for the next ten years. There is a role for The Voluntary Initiative (VI) which promotes the responsible use of PPPs through an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to be involved to establish best practice and stewardship around use of the product to ensure its long-term availability to the industry.” 


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 70/23

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About The Author

Bob Carruth

A dairy farmer’s son, I joined NFU Scotland in 1999 after 13 years as an agricultural journalist. Following spells as a regional manager and policy lead on milk, livestock and animal health and welfare, I became Communications Director in 2008.

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