REUTERS By Philip Blenkinsop April 2017 2018
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union countries backed a proposal on Friday to ban all use outdoors of insecticides known as neonicotinoids that studies have shown can harm bees.
The ban, championed by environmental activists, covers the use of three active substances - imidacloprid developed by Bayer CropScience, clothianidin developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer CropScience as well as Syngenta’s thiamethoxam.
“All outdoor uses will be banned and the neonicotinoids in question will only be allowed in permanent greenhouses where exposure of bees is not expected,” the European Commission said in a statement.
Bayer called the ban “a sad day for farmers and a bad deal for Europe” and said it would not help bees. Many farmers, it said, had no other way of controlling pests and that the result was more spraying and a return to older, less effective chemicals.
The use of neonicotinoids in the European Union has been restricted to certain crops since 2013, but environmental groups have called for a total ban and sparked a debate across the continent about the wider use of chemicals in farming.
Campaign group Friends of the Earth described the decision of EU governments a “tremendous victory” for bees and for the environment.
“The European Commission must now focus on developing a strong pollinator initiative that boosts bee-friendly habitat and helps farmers cut pesticide-use,” it said.
Both Bayer and Syngenta have challenged the 2013 partial ban at the European Court of Justice. A verdict is due on May 17.
NOTE: From SumofUs
I'm writing quickly to let you know some breaking news: WE WON! The EU neonics ban just passed.
A majority of European governments voted in favour of the European Commission's proposal.
This is a massive win for the bees -- and you and SumOfUs members around the world have helped make this happen. Thank you so much for your incredible support!
I'll be in touch in the coming days with a more detailed report back.
In the meantime, let's celebrate!
Wiebke and rest of the SumOfUs team
P.S. It’s only thanks to SumOfUs members like you that we won this amazing and historic bee-saving ban. But the battle to save the bees is far from over. Bayer and co will not give up now and neither can we. To keep the bees safe from pesticide giants we need sustained support from members like you -- it’s the most powerful form of support. Please can you set up a small monthly donation today so that we can keep fighting for and saving the bees.