A Ross-on-Wye farmer was in Brussels this week to take his message about the need for safer and more effective pesticides directly to lawmakers in the European Parliament.

He addressed the parliament’s Special Committee on Pesticides at the invitation of West Midlands Conservative MEP, Anthea McIntyre. He told them that they are failing in making lower risk pesticides more readily available to producers.

Mr Chinn said:?“For a regulation committed to help innovation and support the industry, this is a categoric failure that stifles the availability of safer, more effective and lower risk pesticides,”

He described the EU approval process for plant protection products as one of the most stringent in the world and said it took over 11 years, an average of 200 scientific studies and more than 250 million euros to bring a product to the EU market.

And he warned MEPs: "Rigorous testing and application protocols are very effective in protecting the public and the environment. However little attention has been given to its other aims of effectively supporting productive and competitive agriculture and horticulture.”

John Chinn’s business, Cobrey Farms in Coughton, is Britain’s biggest asparagus producer. Ho also grows berries, beans and other crops. He spoke about the work of the Centre for Crop Health and Protection, one of four agri-tech innovation centres set up by UK Government, which he chairs.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative agriculture spokesman in the parliament, said: “This committee was set up with a specific agenda to undermine trust in plant protection products - so I was determined that it would hear from a real life farmer who is also an expert in this area.

“He told the MEPs a few home truths - not only about the industry’s real needs but also about very practical ways of limiting the use of products while improving the environment.