[ExI] EU bans neonicotinoids

Dave Sill sparge at gmail.com
Wed May 1 18:01:23 UTC 2013


Environmentalists hailed a "victory for bees" today after the European
Union voted for a ban on the nerve-agent pesticides blamed for the dramatic
decline global bee populations.

Despite fierce lobbying by the chemicals industry and opposition by
countries including Britain, 15 of the 27 member states voted for a
two-year restriction on neonicotinoid insecticides. That gave the European
Commission the support it needed to push through an EU-wide ban on using
three neonicotinoids on crops attractive to bees.

Tonio Borg, the EC's top health official, said they planned to implement
the landmark ban from December. "I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that
our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22bn
annually to European agriculture, are protected," he said.

Britain was among eight nations which voted against the motion, despite a
petition signed by 300,000 people presented to Downing Street last week by
fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and Katharine Hamnett. The Independent
has also campaigned to save Britain's bee population.

Four nations abstained from the moratorium, which will restrict the use of
imidacloprid and clothianidin, made by Germany's Bayer, and thiamethoxam,
made by the Swiss company, Syngenta. The ban on use on flowering crops will
remain in place throughout the EU for two years unless compelling
scientific evidence to the contrary becomes available.

More than 30 separate scientific studies have found a link between the
neonicotinoids, which attack insects' nerve systems, and falling bee
numbers. The proposal by European Commission - the EU's legislative body -
to ban the insecticides was based on a study by the European Food Safety
Authority, which found in January that the pesticides did pose a risk to
bees' health.


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