Farmers can spray pesticides within 5m of rural homes
Nature and ecology groups supported by about 100 mayors have lost an urgent legal challenge to laws allowing farmers to spray weedkiller and pesticides close to homes in the French countryside.
The collective of France Nature Environnement, Générations Futures, Que Choisir and others called for the chief administrative court, the Conseil d’Etat, to strike out a government move to allow a cut to the legal distance from 5m to 3m because of the ban on consultation meetings during the coronavirus crisis.
Major loss for air cleanliness
Collective lawyers said that, with air pollution cited as a factor in worsening Covid-19 problems, it was irresponsible to allow spraying near to homes. When the hearing started, however, the government withdrew its new limits, citing the end of the lockdown. It said they were no longer needed.
The Conseil d’Etat continued to hear arguments against the 2019 law allowing the use of sprays to within 5m of homes in the case of cereal crops and 10m for high crops, such as vines. Arguments that there was a “link between pesticides and air pollution” and that pollution accentuated people’s fragility were rejected by the court. It said no decision could be taken on the basis of the arguments for months so there was no urgency to make a change.