The European Parliament on Wednesday rejected a plan to cut back reliance on pesticides in agriculture in another setback in Europe-wide efforts to protect the environment.

With 299 votes against the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products Regulation (SUR), 207 in favor, and 121 abstentions, MEPs rejected a package of draft legislation that had been negotiated intensely for months.

"I could not have imagined that the entire draft legislation would have ended up trampled into the ground like this, it is a bitter disappointment, for biodiversity, for our health and our children's health," Greens party rapporteur Sarah Wiener told a news conference.

Wiener said the right had worked with the extreme right to help agro-industry lobbyists ditch the legislation. The parliament's Greens/EFA group said in a statement that the text had been so watered down in crucial areas that in the end it was not good enough for anyone to support it.

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