Earlier today the Member States of the European Union voted in favour of the European Commission’s proposal to further restrict the use of the neonicotinoids, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin. Since 2013, in response to concerns about their unintended effects on bees, these insecticides were partially restricted so that they could not be used on flowering crops and horticultural plants deemed attractive to pollinators, while evidence as to whether or not they were safe was gathered. At the end of February, the European Food Safety Authority published its conclusions after reviewing all of the evidence, confirming the risk these pesticides pose to bees. In light of the evidence and the majority backing, the European Commission will adopt new regulations preventing them from being used on all outdoor crops and horticultural plants in the coming week.
Bumblebee Conservation Trust CEO, Gill Perkins said “Today is a landmark day, the members of the European Union, including the UK Government, have backed the science and voted to remove the risk of exposing bees and other wildlife to this set of harmful contaminants. It is not however, the end of the road when it comes to solving the issues of bee declines. There is much work to be done and it would be fantastic to see the same level of resources and scientific study being poured into the other issues that bees face. For example, we desperately need to further our understanding of the role parasites and diseases have in bee declines, particularly those that are found to be imported with commercial bees.”