EU Member States voted today (Friday) to fully ban three neonicotinoid insecticides from outdoor use. A partial ban has already in place since 2013. This follows a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessment, published at the end of February, which re-confirmed the neonicotinoid threat: “most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees” the EFSA reported.
The insecticides in question – Bayer’s imidacloprid and clothianidin, and Syngenta’s thiamethoxam – will be banned from all outdoor fields on EU farms within six months.
The only permitted use will now be for plants grown inside a permanent greenhouse for their entire lifecycle, from germination to harvest, PAN UK reports.
Environmental and other campaign groups expressed their delight at the decision.
Some organisations, including Greenpeace EU, want more restrictions. Greenpeace EU food policy adviser Franziska Achterberg said “the use of four other neonicotinoids and other insecticides with similar effects on bees is completely unrestricted in Europe. Only France is moving towards a blanket ban on all neonicotinoids. A chemical-by-chemical approach can no longer guarantee the protection of the environment or health.”
Greennews.ie reports that “two other neonicotinoids – acetamiprid and thiacloprid – are deemed to be less of a threat to bees and are not included in the ban, despite concerns from some conservation groups and the results of some recent studies.”
The pesticide industry currently has three legal cases pending against the EU Commission regarding restrictions on neonicotinoids. Reacting to the vote, it called the decision “premature unwelcome even if not altogether unexpected”.
However, the vote had already been delayed from 2017, to allow for the EFSA risk assessment.
All ARC2020 articles on pesticides
EFSA “Neonicotinoids: risks to bees confirmed” EFSA report
EU Commission factsheet on neonicotinoids
Politico 2017: Attack of the Killer Bees “Documents show Bayer and Syngenta teamed up with farmers to get around bee-friendly regulation.”
ARC2020 has been covering this for some time: see below from 2013.