EU States Vote to Ban Neonicotinoids

Concerns over the health of honeybees and other pollinators have led the EU to push for a total ban. AGENCIES

Concerns over the health of honeybees and other pollinators have led the EU to push for a total ban. AGENCIES

Greenhouses, which pose a minimal risk for bee contact, are the only allowable continued usage of the above-mentioned pesticides.

The move represents a major extension of existing restrictions, which have been in place since 2013, when the Commission voted to severely restrict the use of plant protection products and treated seeds containing three of these neonicotinoids.

Whether it is climate change or the overuse of pesticides, bees are teetering on the brink of extinction, but now a glimmer of hope is set to emerge from an European Union parliament vote due today (27 April). "Farmers rely on bees to pollinate crops and have planted around 10,000 football pitches worth of flower habitat across the country to support a healthy bee population and give them a good home - all because they recognise the key role they play in producing safe, affordable food", the NFU Deputy President added.

"All outdoor use of the three substances will be banned and the neonicotinoids in question will only be allowed in permanent greenhouses where no contact with bees is expected", the European Union announced on Friday.

Environment NGO Friends of the Earth Malta applauded the Maltese government's support for the ban.

The European Union on Friday agreed to permanently ban almost all pesticides that cause harm to bees.

Antonia Staats, senior campaigner at Avaaz, which led a petition backed by five million signatures to ban the chemicals, said: "Banning these toxic pesticides is a beacon of hope for bees". "Finally, our governments are listening to their citizens, the scientific evidence and farmers who know that bees can't live with these chemicals and we can't live without bees".

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The three substances have been intensively used over the last two decades, and were created to control sap-feeding insects such as aphids and root-feeding grubs.

Moving forward, European nations will not allow three popular neonicotinoids, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, to be sprayed on fields.

"The restrictions are meant to address the alleged risks the substances pose to bee health".

Wildlife campaigners welcomed the ban as a "major victory".

Neonicotinoids are the most widely-used class of insecticides in Canada and the world "which has led to ubiquitous environmental contamination", says a group news release. Further, the Guardian reports that a recent study of honey samples revealed widespread neonicotinoid contamination, indicating that current measures have been insufficient to tackle the threat to bees.

Greenpeace said France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Slovenia, Estonia, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta supported the ban.

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