EU set to vote on bee-harming pesticides

8 December 2017

Next week EU Member States will discuss and may vote on a proposal from the European Commission to ban bee harming neonicotinoid pesticides on all crops outdoors.

This would be a huge step forwards to help combat the worrying decline of bees and other insects, and increase protection for our pollinators.

Sandra Bell from Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland said "The scientific evidence that neonicotinoids harm bees is overwhelming – it's time these pesticides were banned on all crops. All Member States should join France and the UK in backing a full ban to ensure stronger protection for the precious pollinators of our food.

"As well as putting our bees at risk these chemicals can harm birds, butterflies and the natural predators that farmers rely on. Neonicotinoids have no place in the future of farming and national governments and the EU should now focus on helping farmers to work with nature and get off the chemical treadmill."

Friends of the Earth Europe has joined 80 European organisations, including beekeepers and other environmental groups, calling for a complete ban on neonicotinoids.

Neonicotinoids, manufactured by companies like Bayer and Syngenta, were temporarily suspended from use in the EU in 2013 on flowering crops like oilseed rape, in order to protect bees. However, on growing evidence of their harm to bees, the European Commission earlier this year proposed that the three neonicotinoid pesticides subject to these partial restrictions should be completely banned on outdoor crops. New evidence has shown that, after being applied on fields, neonicotinoids persist in the environment for many years, and have even been found drifting into water and wildflowers next to crops.

Predictions by the neonics manufactures that the existing restrictions would result in farmers being unable to grow crops such as oilseed rape have proved unfounded, with high yields being achieved across the EU since the ban – showing these chemicals are not necessary.

The EU's Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed is due to discuss the proposal at their meeting on 12th and 13th December where national government experts may be asked to vote on the proposal for a complete ban.

Friends of the Earth Europe asks for all member states to back the Commission's proposal for a complete ban.