MP warns of ‘unintended consequences’ of EU crackdown on pesticides

Beekeepers have said anti-pesticide measures have “back-fired” – with pests flourishing and damaging crops
Beekeepers have said anti-pesticide measures have “back-fired” – with pests flourishing and damaging crops

An MP has warned that an EU crackdown on a commonly-used pesticide may have “unintended consequences” for farmers.

Conservative MP for Gordon, Colin Clark said it highlights the need for the UK to set its own pesticide policy once the UK leaves the EU.

Mr Clark, who has experience in the food and drink sector, was speaking following a session of Westminster’s delegated legislation committee on Thursday (21 February).

A ban on neonicotinoids, insecticides used by farmers to kill pests, was agreed by the EU last year in an attempt to protect bees and butterflies.

However, there have since been concerns raised by beekeepers that the measure has “back-fired” – with pests including flea beetles flourishing and damaging crops.

The delegated legislation committee was discussing plant protection products at the meeting on Thursday.



Speaking afterwards, Mr Clark said that pesticide control must be 'based on facts not a perceived risk'.

“The EUs decision to ban neonicotinoids has two detrimental outcomes. First other contact chemicals have to be used in higher volumes we know kills all insects and secondly the increase in nuisance insects destroying flowering crops,” he said.

“We should embrace the opportunity to set our own policies or we risk being left unable to grow valuable crops. With a different climate, we can be very specific about policy design.

“Used as a seed treatment neonicotinoids are buried under the ground, have relatively short efficacy and are in allegedly minuscule concentrations in the flowers when the bees are pollinating.”