Local anti-pesticide laws banned in France

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The Council of State has said that the power to ban or authorize the use of pesticides in France rests with the state rather than local mayors.

The judges noted that the police specializing in pesticides had the power – “confined to state authorities” – to limit the use of pesticides, which means that mayors do not have the right to make rules. or to ban the widespread use of pesticides in their communities.

The decision, made public on December 31, 2020, came in response to an appeal from the authorities of the municipality of Arceuil, near Paris, against the suspension of a law from September 2019 authorizing more local authorities against pesticides. .

Communes united against power

Many other municipalities have tried to introduce local laws on the use of pesticides. In 2019, the mayor of Langouët, in Brittany, banned the use of pesticides “within 150 meters of any plot of land containing a building for residential or professional use”.

The law was quickly quashed by the state, the judge noting “The Ministry of Agriculture is in charge of the administrative police of pesticides. The mayor of a municipality cannot, under any circumstances, interfere in the work of this special police force via local regulations.

Dozens of other municipalities have since tried to implement similar laws, with the support of NGOs and environmental politicians.

Disappointed NGOs and mayors

Mayors and NGO leaders have expressed disappointment at the new decision.

Florence Pressure, deputy mayor of Sceaux, near Paris, and member of the collective of Mayors against pesticides (Collective of anti-pesticide mayors) said a news source The Dauphine: “It’s a very negative decision, but I won’t give up. We haven’t done all we can to stop it yet.

The municipalities of the collective, and 40 others who are concerned, have since filed proceedings calling into question the constitutionality of the decision. Many proceedings cite the right to health as the main reason.

The collective also intends to bring the case before the European Commission, hoping that it will initiate proceedings against France for “lack of protection of the inhabitants”.

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