The European Parliament's temporary committee on pesticides must take a common sense approach to regulation if it is to make a useful contribution, a leading member said.
 
Anthea McIntyre MEP, UK Conservative spokesman on Agriculture, told a Brussels debate on pesticides regulation to bear in mind that the so-called PEST committee was a political initiative by certain political groups with an eye to next year’s European elections. It had a temporary lifespan and a short timeline.
 
Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, was a panelist in the debate "How should we regulate pesticides?", organised by the publisher Euractiv.
 
She said: "The whole process is relatively short, it will only produce an opinion, not legislation. I nevertheless would welcome the opportunity for MEPs to ask questions to experts in a format that allows a 'ping-pong' of questions and answers back and forth."
 
Miss McIntyre said that the argument for some people was not about whether glyphosate was safe or not. It was about whether we should authorise any chemicals for use in food and agricultural production.
 
She said: "In my opinion, we should authorise them because we need them if we are to maintain food security. We must have a common sense approach to this issue.”
 
Miss McIntyre rejected an assertion by an agricultural trade union that farmers generally used pesticides inappropriately.
 
She said chemicals were expensive, so farmers would use the smallest amount possible. Precision farming and integrated pest-management methods were making sure pesticides were applied in an ever more efficient and environmentally-friendly way.
 
“I hope that something sensible will come out of the PEST committee and I hope it will deliver on its mandate. We need to provide science-based policy making and distinguish fact from fiction.”

The European Union must be on the lookout for cases of "gold plating" when it undertakes its Annual Burden Survey, MEPs were told today.

The warning over so-called gold plating - when member-state governments take EU legislation and add their own unrelated and burdensome clauses at the implementation stage - was issued by Anthea McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands.

She spoke out as she published detailed proposals on behalf of her political group, the European Conservatives and Reformists, to improve the European Commission’s annual burden survey (ABS) and help reduce over regulation across the EU.

Miss McIntyre was instrumental in setting up the survey as a potential warning system for the Commission on the consequences of excessive regulation.

She believes that while the Commission's first ABS had been worthwhile, future ones must show more ambition.

She said: "We may create a simple piece of legislation at EU level - easy for businesses to understand and comply with. But when it’s transposed into national legislation, it doesn’t stay like that.

"Additional or completely unrelated elements are added to the legislation. The Annual Burden Survey should identify these cases of gold plating.

"By using the ABS to bring transparency to the legislative process, we can ensure that legislation remains simple, clear and enforceable. And we can make sure that Europe is not blamed for unpopular legislation that has in fact been created by a Member State."

Other proposals from an ECR policy working group chaired by Miss McIntyre include calling on the European Parliament's research arm to produce in-depth reports into the impact of its proposals, and a truly independent Regulatory Scrutiny Board with experts in place of European Commission officials.

Practical measures for harnessing cutting edge technology on farms were on the agenda at a high-level conference organised by Anthea McIntyre MEP.
 
Experts from a range of scientific, engineering, and agricultural disciplines gathered in Ross-on-Wye to discuss how advances in areas such as big data, precision farming and robotics can be converted into greater productivity, sustainability and profitability for farmers and growers.
 
Miss McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands and Conservative Agriculture spokesman in the European Parliament, convened the conference at the Royal Hotel to consider the next steps needed following her parliamentary report on Tech logical Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture.
 
She said: “Policy-makers, academia and industry, breeders, the agro-chemicals sector, farmers and food manufacturers must all work together to improve the translation of research into practice. From lab to farm to fork.
 
“We need to make sure politicians and governments properly understand the imperative to let expertise and experience feed through into real advances in breeding, tools, techniques.”
 
Sessions covered issues including conservation farming, genetic modification and gene editing, genetic diversity and crop wild relatives, innovation and plant protection.
 
Expert speakers included Professor Pat Heslop-Harrison of Leicester University, Dr Nigel Maxted of Birmingham University, Dr Nicola Cannon of the Royal Agriculture University, Dr Rosemary Collier of Warwick Crop Centre, John Chinn of the Centre for Crop Health and Protection and Jon Knight of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.
 
 
 
Senior MEPs have launched an urgent appeal to halt the execution by the Iranian authorities of an innocent member of a persecuted religious minority.

Led by British MEP Anthea Mcintyre, the politicians are calling on Iran to stop the execution of Yavar Mohammed Salas and order a retrial after he was sentenced to death by the Iranian Supreme Court last week.

She is gathering signatures from MEPs of all nationalities and across the political spectrum for a letter insisting Iran's leadership must stop the hanging and conduct a fair trial.

Supporters say Mr Salas, a Gonabi Dervish, was wrongly convicted of the murder of three police officers when the case against him remained incomplete and unsubstantiated. Eyewitness and photographic evidence establishing his innocence was ignored by the court, while an alleged confession was extracted under duress.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands, said: "It appears Mr Salas was denied proper legal representation and that his trial violated the Iranian constitution and penal code.

"We say there must be no execution and this man must be allowed his right to a fair trial. We also condemn the suppression of religious and ethnic minorities, and the persecution of Gonabadi Dervishes in Iran, and call for the immediate release of detainees who have been imprisoned because of their beliefs."
 
The anti-hate campaign West Midlands Together is planning to build on the success of its youth conference held in February
 
Proposals for two further youth events were outlined when the campaign's steering group met in Birmingham.
 
One will be held in Herefordshire in September - partly focusing on incidents of hate crime against eastern Europeans and others in that county and in Worcestershire.
 
The other will be a second region-wide youth conference, to be staged in the West Midlands conurbation in early 2018 with the intention of making it an annual event.
 
West Midlands Together is a cross-party organisation to promote tolerance and harmony. It was launched by Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre and her Labour colleague Neena Gill following a spike in hate crime following the Brexit referendum.
 
 Miss McIntyre said: "Our steering group reviewed the February event - which was so vibrant and inspiring - and decided this work with young people must continue.
 
"We already had one request to bring a version of the youth event to Herefordshire, which will help to demonstrate hate crime is a problem too in rural areas and smaller towns and cities.
 
 "So we decided to go ahead with that as a one-off and to work to establish the region-wide conference as an annual event.
 
"The young people we have worked with were so energetic, so committed and so honest that it was clear we had to carry on showcasing that energy."
 
Further details of both events will be unveiled later this year.