UK will back total ban on bee-harming pesticides

Thursday 9th November 2017

Michael Gove has revealed the UK Government will overturn previous opposition to a ban on neonicotinoids, making a total EU ban more likely

There is a growing weight of scientific evidence on the harmful effects of neonicotinoids on bees and other pollinators, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said today.

Setting out the UK’s position, the Secretary of State said the UK supports further restrictions on the use of these pesticides. Unless the scientific evidence changes, the Government will maintain these increased restrictions post-Brexit.

The UK government’s advisory body has previously released advice which said scientific evidence now suggests the environmental risks posed by neonicotinoids – particularly to our bees and pollinators - are greater than previously understood, supporting the case for further restrictions.

Research estimates the value of the UK’s 1,500 species of pollinators to crops at £400-680million per year due to improved productivity.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
“The weight of evidence now shows the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our £100bn food industry, is greater than previously understood. I believe this justifies further restrictions on their use. We cannot afford to put our pollinator populations at risk.”

Since December 2013, the EU has banned the use of three neonicotinoids – Clothianidin, Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam – on a number of crops attractive to bees, such as oilseed rape.

The European Commission has proposed restricting the same three neonicotinoids to only allow their use on plants in glasshouses. Currently, their use is banned for oilseed rape, spring cereals and sprays for winter cereals, but they can be used to treat sugar beet and as seed treatments for winter cereals.