UK Government backs ban on Neonicotinoid usage


Environmental Secretary, Michael Gove, revealed that the UK will back a ban on pesticide usage in fields across Europe which cause harm to insects. The decision reverses the government’s previous position on the matter due to recent evidence justifying the concern of neonicotinoids contaminating the whole landscape and causing damage to colonies of bees.

Neonicotinoids has been the globes most widely used insecticide, but in 2013 the European Union banned their usage on flowering crops. This caused much debate throughout the EU with some countries resisting the ban, the UK being one of them.

The European Commission now plans to put into effect a total ban on the usage of neonicotinoids outside of greenhouses. With a vote expected in December, this makes it very likely to pass with the UK’s new standing.
Gove said the evidence of neonicotinoids’ harm to pollinators has grown stronger since 2013, this including a landmark field trial published in July 2016 which showed neonicotinoids damage bee populations, not just individual insects.

Friends of the Earth’s chief executive Craig Bennett said “Michael Gove is to be congratulated for listening to the experts on this issue and backing tougher restrictions. But lessons also need to be learned – we now need to move away from chemical-intensive farming and instead boost support for less damaging ways of tackling persistent weeds and pests”.

Chris Hartfield, the National Farmers Union’s acting chief science adviser, also commented on the matter saying: “Farmers are acutely aware that bees play a crucial role in food production and have done an enormous amount to help them.” But he said the committee’s finding of “unacceptable effects” came despite their acknowledgement of a gap in understanding in whether neonicotinoids damage overall ecosystem services, “in our view, the ECP ( UK Expert Committee on Pesticides ) has leapt beyond its brief.”

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Published: 17th November 2017

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