The European Parliament votes to amend new Machinery Directive and improve pesticides machinery

Machinery used for applying pesticides in European farms, orchards, vineyards, parks and gardens will be more environmentally friendly, thanks to a measure just adopted by the European Parliament.The measure just approved by the European Parliament will make a significant contribution to the protection of the environment and human health. It will help European farmers and gardeners to limit the quantity of pesticides used. The machinery must be designed so that pesticides can be applied only where they are needed. At the same time, the use of the Machinery Directive avoids creating new burdens for the machinery manufacturers, since existing procedures can be used.

On Wednesday 22 April 2009, the European Parliament adopted a short but important amendment to the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. The amendment was proposed by the Commission in September 2008 and has now been approved by the European Parliament at first reading. The Council should adopt the text shortly. The measure will ensure that new machinery for pesticide application is designed and manufactured so that the application of pesticides can be better controlled and unintended dispersal of pesticides in the environment can be minimized.

The Machinery Directive, in force since 1995, already fixes harmonized health and safety requirements for all new machinery sold in the EU. This latest amendment means that, for the first time, the Directive will also cover certain environmental protection requirements. The new requirements apply to just one category of machinery – the machinery used to apply pesticides to plants grown in European farms, orchards, vineyards, parks and gardens. The machinery concerned ranges from the large sprayers used by farmers to the smaller, portable equipment used by gardeners.

This amendment of the Machinery Directive completes the package of legislative measures foreseen in the thematic strategy for the sustainable use of pesticides adopted by the European Commission in 2006.

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