Soil Association statement:European Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health decision not to suspend three neonicotinoids
15 March 2013
It’s a terrible day for bees that the EU couldn’t decide to ban three neonicotinoid pesticides (clothianidin, thiametoxam and imidacloprid) because qualified majority was not reached.
A ban is an important and significant step forward in supporting the bee populations of Europe which have been in serious decline for many years. The UK and some other EU governments ignored the large body of scientific evidence highlighting the damaging impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees and other pollinating insects.
This failure by EU governments make the forthcoming report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, following their inquiry into Insects and Insecticides, all the more important. We hope this report recognises the large body of scientific evidence against neonicotinoids and recommends strong and immediate action from the UK Government.
Peter Melchett, Policy Director at the Soil Association says: “Organic farming proves that systemic insecticides such as neonicotinoids are not needed to produce food. Also, there is clear evidence that a ban on neonicotinoids would work. In Italy, where the Government has taken decisive action and banned certain neonicotinoids pesticides, deaths of honey bees in winter subsequently fell by more than 50% in three years."
A recent synthesis of 39 studies on 23 crops around the world published earlier this week in the journal Ecology Letters confirms that wild bees are more abundant in diversified systems such as organic farms.
The Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into Insects and Insecticides
Leading environment and conservation groups are supporting European Commission proposals for a ban on neonicotinoids, including the Soil Association, Buglife, Friends of the Earth, RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts. For example please see the Telegraph letters page (half way down).