EU bans pesticides to help bees
27th April, 2018. The Telegraph reports European Union countries have agreed to a ban on pesticides that harm bees in a decision hailed by green campaigners as a “major victory”.
Britain and 15 other nations including Germany and France voted in favour of stopping the outdoor use of “neonicotinoid” pesticides in the EU.
The European Food Safety Authority had reported they were dangerous to honeybees, bumblebees and wild solitary bees and harmed their ability to forage and form colonies.
The ban, secured by a majority vote, will now restrict the pesticides' use to greenhouses. Neonicotinoids are already banned on some crops such as oil seed rape.
The Daily Telegraph understands that Denmark, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania voted against the ban. Eight EU countries, including Poland, Bulgaria and Belgium abstained Friday in the vote by a committee of national experts in Brussels.
The law should be in force by the end of the year but Bayer and Syngenta, two of Europe’s largest chemical companies, have challenged an earlier ban in the European Court of Justice.
Michael Gove, the environment secretary, said last year that Britain would support the ban after new evidence emerged showing the risk to bees and other insects was “greater than previously understood”.
Emi Murphy, bee campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: "This a major victory for science, common sense and our under-threat bees. The evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides pose a threat to our bees is overwhelming.
"It's great news that Michael Gove listened to the experts and backed the ban - he must now give farmers the support they need to grow food without bee-harming pesticides."
A spokesman for the Environment Department (Defra) said: "We are committed to enhancing our environment for the next generation, and welcome the vote today in support of further restrictions on neonicotinoids.
"The government has always been clear we will be led by the science on this matter.
"We recognise the impact a ban will have on farmers and will continue to work with them to explore alternative approaches as we design a new agricultural policy outside the European Union."