UK farmers have accused the EU of banning fungicide products based on epoxiconazole for political reasons.

The Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) - the body responsible for the regulation of biocides, pesticides, detergents, chemicals in the UK - confirmed the substance would also be withdrawn from re-approval here too.

It comes almost a year after the active substance was banned from the French market, after it was claimed the substance disrupts the human endocrine system.

Epoxiconazole is a broad-spectrum fungicide used to control pests such as septoria leaf blotch and stem rust on sugarbeet, wheat, barley, rye, oats and triticale.

Products containing the substance in the UK include Cortez, Epic and Adexar.

The approval of epoxiconazole ends on April 30, 2020.

CRD has allowed the full grace period available and set the timescales for withdrawing authorisations as follows:

  • Authorisations for sale and supply end on October 31, 2020; and
  • Authorisations for disposal, storage and use end on October 31, 2021.

Willie Thomson, NFU Scotland Combinable Crops chairman said: “The withdrawal of epoxiconazole from the EU review process before the evaluation had been completed would imply that this decision was political rather than based on evidence, scientific knowledge and expert evaluation.

“Farmers are once again faced with the loss of a key product from the plant protection toolkit pushing them to decide between using more expensive options or lowering yields, whilst competing with cheaper imports that don’t meet UK standards.”