Climate Action

EU votes to ban the use of bee-killing neonicotinoids

Member states of the EU have overwhelmingly voted for a ban on the use of a pesticide known to be harmful to the bee population.

  • 27 April 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

Member states of the EU have overwhelmingly voted for a ban on the use of a pesticide known to be harmful to the bee population.

16 EU countries, including France, the UK, Germany and Italy, all voted to restrict the use of neonicotinoids. 

There have already been restrictions in place relating to their use since 2013, today’s ruling goes further in banning all outdoor use of three types of neonicotinoids. In future, farmers will only be allowed to use the substances in permanent greenhouses.

The news follows a report earlier this year from the European Food Standards Agency, which confirmed the risk to bees of using the pesticide.

The European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis commented: “Bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment".

Environmental campaigners welcomed the vote, which brings to an end years of campaigning on the issue. Emi Murphy, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth said: “This a major victory for science, common sense and our under-threat bees. The evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides pose a threat to our bees is overwhelming.”

“Neonicotinoids are not the only threat bees face – ministers must urgently step up efforts to boost nature, protect wildlife-friendly habitats and tackle overreliance on pesticides,” she added.

Greenpeace echoed these concerns stating that while “there was never any question that these three neonicotinoids had to go”, there remained a host of other harmful chemicals which are damaging wildlife in Europe.

Policy adviser, Franziska Achterberg, said: “These three neonicotinoids are just the tip of the iceberg – there are many more pesticides out there, including other neonicotinoids that are just as dangerous for bees and food production. Governments must ban all bee-harming pesticides and finally shift away from toxic chemicals in farming”.

The new law will become applicable by the end of the year.