governmentchemist


European Commission moves to ban neonicotinoid pesticides by Nick Boley

Despite not securing a qualified majority in the vote of Member States, the European Commission is to press ahead with a ban – at least for the time being – on the three neonicotinoid pesticides clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam.

These substances are believed to be harmful to bee populations and some scientists think they are a major factor in the recent decline in bee populations. The evidence for this is not conclusive, but the Commission appears to want to adopt the precautionary principle. The UK is one of a number of Member States not supporting the ban.

Under the Commission’s proposals, preparations containing these three neonicotinoid pesticides will be withdrawn from use from 30 September 2013 (although some Member States can continue to authorise their use until 30 November) on crops which are attractive to pollinating bees. No amateur use of these substances will be permitted.

Additionally – and most importantly – the Commission has undertaken to start a review of data for these substances two years after the Regulation comes into force (i.e. in the autumn of 2015). It is to be hoped that these data can answer the question unequivocally as to t these neonicotinoids are harmful to bee populations.

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