Updated: EU to ban pesticide linked to bee decline

30th April 2013

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Chemicals ,
  • Agriculture ,
  • Stewardship ,
  • Ecosystems ,
  • Biodiversity



The European Commission is to halt the use of three pesticides containing neonicotinoids, despite 12 member states, including the UK, refusing to back the ban

The commission has confirmed that it is introducing a Europe-wide moratorium on the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam on bee attractive crops from 1 December 2013.

The two-year ban follows the recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority (EFAS), which reported in January that the chemicals posed an “acute risk” to honeybees.

European countries were asked to vote for a second time on restricting the use of the pesticides, after failing to agree on whether to take action in March. Despite 15 member states voting in favour of the ban, the UK and seven other countries rejected the proposals. A further four abstained.

The hung vote meant that the decision to implement a moratorium rested solely with the commission, and Tonio Borg, the health and consumer commissioner, confirmed that the ban would be taking place.

“Although a majority of member states now supports our proposal, the necessary qualified majority was not reached. Since our proposal is based on a number of risks to bee health identified by EFSA, the commission will go ahead with its text in the coming weeks.

“I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute more than €22 billion annually to European agriculture, are protected.”

The decision means that from 1 December clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam, which are used in products from companies like Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, cannot be used for seed or foliar treatment or as a soil application for bee attractive plants and cereals.

The UK has refused to back the ban, arguing that the evidence for a link between neonicotinoids and falling bee numbers is not robust.

Reacting to the commission's decision, environment minister Lord de Mauley said: “Having a healthy bee population is a top priority for us but we did not support the proposal for a ban because our scientific evidence doesn’t support it.

"Significant countries agree with us that a ban is not the right action to take and we will work with them to get much better evidence. We will now work with farmers to cope with the consequences as a ban will carry significant costs for them.”

Defra’s approach was strongly criticised by the parliamentary environmental audit committee earlier this month. MPs concluded that the department was allowing economic concerns to become “entangled with environmental decision making”.

The commission has pledged to review the moratorium on the pesticides “as soon as new information is available, and at the latest within two years”.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Swing voters show strong support for renewables

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

A project promoter’s perspective on the environmental challenges facing new subsea power cables

3rd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s major cities lag well behind their European counterparts in terms of public transport use. Linking development to transport routes might be the answer, argues Huw Morris

3rd April 2024

Read more

Tom Harris examines the supply chain constraints facing the growing number of interconnector projects

2nd April 2024

Read more

The UK government’s carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) strategy is based on optimistic techno-economic assumptions that are now outdated, Carbon Tracker has warned.

13th March 2024

Read more

The UK government’s latest Public Attitudes Tracker has found broad support for efforts to tackle climate change, although there are significant concerns that bills will rise.

13th March 2024

Read more

A consortium including IEMA and the Good Homes Alliance have drafted a letter to UK government ministers expressing disappointment with the proposed Future Homes Standard.

26th February 2024

Read more

Global corporations such as Amazon and Google purchased a record 46 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind energy last year, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF).

13th February 2024

Read more

Media enquires

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

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close