Pesticides blamed for bee decline face EU restrictions

8th February 2013


Related Topics

Related tags

  • EU ,
  • EMS ,
  • Procurement ,
  • Natural resources ,
  • Biodiversity



The European Commission is proposing a two-year moratorium on the use of three pesticides containing neonicotinoid chemicals, which the European Food Safety Agency claims pose a risk to bees

Research by the agency found that clothianidin and imidacloprid, which are used in products from Bayer CropScience, and thiamethoxam, the active ingredient in Cruiser OSR from Syngenta, pose an “acute risk” to honeybees, though it stopped short of linking them to the recent collapse in bee colonies.

“We are requesting that member states suspend for two years the use of these [neonicotinoid] pesticides on seeds, granular atom sprays and for crops that attract bees – sunflower, maize, rape and cotton,” said Frédéric Vincent, a spokesperson for the EU health and consumer commissioner.

The commission aims to have legislation in place by the beginning of July banning the pesticides in such circumstances, although member states have yet to give their approval.

The commission decision is based on the precautionary principle, which obliges it to act even when the scientific evidence of environmental or health risks is inconclusive.

Bayer CropScience described the commission’s proposal as “draconian”. “The company believes that the commission’s overly conservative interpretation of the precautionary principle is a missed opportunity to achieve a fair and proportional solution,” the German firm said in a statement.

Before the commission announcement, several UK retailers said they would stop selling products containing neonicotinoid chemicals.

B&Q said it would no longer stock pesticide containing imidacloprid because of “concerns about the potential for harm”, while Wickes announced that it would replace a product containing thiamethoxam later this year.

Homebase told Friends of the Earth that “as a precautionary measure” it had removed from sale the Bayer Lawn Grub Killer, which contains imidacloprid.

According to the project examining the status and trends of European pollinators, about 16% of the EU’s honeybee colonies disappeared between 1985 and 2005.

Transform articles

Regulator publishes new code to tackle 'greenwashing'

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published a new 'Green Claims Code' to ensure businesses are not misleading consumers about their environmental credentials.

22nd September 2021

Read more

The UK government must develop regulation to stop the financial sector from providing billions of pounds to companies that threaten rainforests worldwide, WWF has said.

10th September 2021

Read more

Over two million hectares of Brazilian rainforest could be legally converted to supply the UK with soy under a new anti-deforestation law proposed by the government, the WWF has found.

26th August 2021

Read more

The Better Business Act would put responsibility to society and the environment on the same footing as responsibility to shareholders, explains Chris Turner

30th July 2021

Read more

In Elliott-Smith v Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the claimant applied for judicial review of the legality of the defendants’ joint decision to create the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) as a substitute for UK participation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS).

30th July 2021

Read more

Thames Water has been fined £4m after untreated sewage escaped from sewers below London into a park and a river.

30th July 2021

Read more

In R. (on the application of Hudson) v Windsor and Maidenhead RBC, the appellant appealed against a decision to uphold the local authority’s grant of planning permission for the construction of a holiday village at the Legoland Windsor Resort.

28th May 2021

Read more

Are voluntary commitments enough to make the private sector act on waste? David Burrows explores the issues

28th May 2021

Read more

Government announcements on infrastructure reveal a direction of travel but key details are still unknown, says Huw Morris

29th January 2021

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert