EU States Vote to Ban Neonicotinoids

Apr 28, 2018, 15:20
EU States Vote to Ban Neonicotinoids

"Most agronomists agree that without neonicotinoids many crops grown in the United Kingdom will become less viable and a ban could simply mean we import more crops from parts of the world where there is no political desire to ban these key insecticides".

"There is variability in the conclusions, due to factors such as the bee species, the intended use of the pesticide and the route of exposure", the head of EFSA's pesticides unit, Jose Tarazona, said at the time.

EU countries voted for a ban on the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides in fields, the European Commission said, meaning that they can only now be used in covered greenhouses where they cannot get into the environment.

Research has shown that neonicotinoids can cause harm to bees in a number of ways, including the loss of queen bees.

Member states including the United Kingdom have voted in favour of a wider ban on the use of neonicotinoids across the EU.

An assessment published earlier this year by the European Food Safety Authority determined neonicotinoids pose a risk to wild bees and honey bees.

Meanwhile, environmental groups have been extremely supportive of the decision.

Friends of the Earth bees campaigner Emi Murphy added: "This a major victory for science, common sense and our under-threat bees".

Bayer said it was "a sad day for farmers and a bad deal for Europe".

The new regulations will be adopted by the European Commission in the coming weeks and "become applicable by the end of this year".

"The NFU believes a risk-based approach should be taken on this issue, where the impacts of potential changes are fully understood and recognised as providing genuine opportunities to improve bee and pollinator health".

He said: "What is needed is a move towards truly sustainable farming methods that minimise pesticide use, encourage natural enemies of crop pests, and support biodiversity and healthy soil".

But they could still be used on sugar beet, various horticultural crops and as seed treatments for winter cereals.

"Unfortunately, the active chemicals also accumulate in the pollen and nectar of plants and so reach the diets of non-target, beneficial insects like bees".

Neonicotinoid use in greenhouses will still be allowed under the new restrictions, a decision environmentalists say could still pose serious threats to bees as the chemicals can leach into the water supply. These three neonicotinoids are just the tip of the iceberg - there are many more pesticides out there, including other neonicotinoids, that are just as risky for bees and food production.

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