Anthea McIntyre joined fellow Conservative MEPs today in opposing moves to ban an important chemical used for protecting components for the aerospace industry.

The Conservative employment spokesman in the European Parliament condemned a bid by Green MEPs and members of the parliament's Environment Committee to overturn the EU Commission's safety-approval for chromium trioxide, which is widely used to coat engine parts and other components to make them more robust and longer-lasting.

She spoke out after Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout tabled a motion opposing the Commission’s implementing measure approving certain uses of chromium trioxide, on the basis that the Commission was exceeding its powers.

Although CrO3 is acknowledged as a potential carcinogen, its use as a coating has long been allowed subject to strict procedures and exposure limits.

Miss McIntyre, MEP for the West Midlands, said:  "This is a ruse by ultra-zealous Leftist and Green extremists who really want to close down the chemicals industry and take down the continent's economy with it.

"Their claim that the Commission has exceeded its powers is utterly spurious must be roundly rejected.

"Our expert engineers need this treatment. It is used within well-recognised safety limits to make high tech parts more resistant to wear and rust. Longer-lasting components mean less demand on the earth's resources - so anyone who really cares about the environment should be supporting the process, not trying to stop it.

"In my own region, Birmingham's Indestructible Paint Company produces high-tech coatings for Rolls Royce engines and other aerospace companies and uses CrO3 as a vital part of the process.

 "Nationally, surface engineering contributes £14.8Bn to the UK economy, which in turn creates ten times that value in manufactured products and supports 30,000 UK jobs.

"We must defy the scaremongers and make sure this safe usage is allowed to continue."

 In Strasbourg today MEPs voted narrowly in favour of the Eickhout objection.

 It is now up to the Commission to decide whether to heed the vote.