Another application by NFU for neonics to be used this summer
Application being considered by DEFRA
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has put in a second emergency application to the government for farmers to use the controversial neonicotinoid seed treatments on oilseed rape this summer.
Neonicotinoilds have been blamed for declining bee populations and are currently banned under EU law.
According to Farmers Weekly growers could expect to hear whether the UK government has accepted the application later this month.
The application – which was considered by the governments Chemical Regulations Directorate on the 14th June – asks for growers to use neonicotinoid-treated seed across 22% of the English oilseed rape area in 15 counties. The Chemical Regulations Directorate advice is now being considered by DEFRA ministers.
A similar application from the NFU submitted earlier this year for the use of neonicotinoids across a much wider area was rejected by DEFRA.
The Farmers Weekly stated that the NFU thought its second application was “more robust”.
NFU president Meurig Raymond told Farmers Weekly that he expected a DEFRA decision after the EU referendum on 23 June, but before the end of the month.
The NFU president said:
“There was no easy way to control cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) in oilseed rape crops,” said Mr Raymond. “This summer the NFU is again seeking a modest derogation in line with a crop area worst-affected from CSFB damage. Despite the best efforts of farmers and researchers we still saw a 14% difference in yield change between East Anglia and the rest of England and Wales for 2015 harvest”.
Neonicotinoid linked to bee deaths
In December 2013 a European wide ban came into force after neonicotinoid pesticides had been linked to increased bee deaths.
However despite this ban the NFU was successful last summer in overturning it specifically for rapeseed oil production.
Ethical Consumer recently updated its guide to rapeseed and vegetable oil.
The guide found:
- That most of the vegetable oil sold in UK supermarkets is actually rapeseed oil
- No organic rapeseed oil is produced in the UK
- Out of the three British rapeseed brands featured in the report only Hillfarm states that it does not use neonicotinoid pesticides
Consumers wanting to avoid neonicotinoid products and buy rapeseed oil are encouraged to choose organically certified brands.
Brands which offered organic rapeseed oil in our report include Mr Organic, Biona, and Clearspring.