EU bans pesticides linked to bee decline
Temporary ban of three pesticides
A clear majority of 15 EU countries have supported the European Commission proposal to temporarily ban three pesticides that are scientifically shown to be harmful to bees: imidacloprid and clothianidin, produced by chemical company Bayer, and thiamethoxam, produced by Syngenta.
In scientific reports published earlier this year, the European Food Safety Authority said the three neonicotinoids posed “high acute risks” to honeybees in certain crop uses.
The Commission originally said it wanted the 2 year moratorium to begin no later than 1 July this year but chemical company lobbying has delayed the ban until 1 December 2013.
The UK did not support a ban, despite nearly 350,000 signatures on a petition imploring it to. Protesters against neonicotinoids also rallied in Westminster on Friday. The UK argues that the science behind the proposal is inconclusive. It was among eight countries that voted against, while four abstained.
Campaign organiser Andrew Pendleton of the environmental group Friends of the Earth said "leading retailers have already taken action by removing these pesticides from their shelves and supply chains - the UK government must act too".
Partial bans of neonicotinoids are already in place in Italy, France, Germany and Slovenia, with no significant negative impacts on agricultural production.
Syngenta and Bayer have been running an intensive lobbying and public relations campaign in an attempt to delay a ban, said Greenpeace. Other pesticides produced by these and other companies also pose a severe threat to bees and other pollinators. A recent Greenpeace report, Bees in Decline, identified seven bee-killing pesticides produced by Syngenta, Bayer, BASF and other companies, four of which are not neonicotinoids. Greenpeace is campaigning to remove these pesticides from the market as a crucial first step to start a move away from industrial farming in Europe.
“This is a victory not only for the bees and other pollinators, but for independent science against the political, pro-pesticide position adopted by UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and the pesticide industry", said the Soil Association today.
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