EU member states to vote on proposals to extend neonicotinoid ban

EU member states are to vote on a total ban on neonics tomorrow
EU member states are to vote on a total ban on neonics tomorrow

EU member states are due to vote on proposals to ban the outdoor use of three neonicotinoid pesticides.

Since December 2013 three neonicotinoid pesticides - imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam - have been banned for use on crops attractive to bees.

The restrictions were imposed after a previous report by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that they posed a "high acute risk" to honey bees.

On Friday (27 April), the European Commission will ask Member States to vote on a proposal to widen the ban to cover all crops grown outdoors, compared to its current ban on flowering crops, spring-sown cereals and maize.

The move follows mounting concern about the impact of these chemicals on bees and the wider environment.

The UK government has overturned its previous convictions on neonicotinoids and now say an outright ban is needed.

A total ban on the pesticide in fields across Europe will be now be backed by the UK, Defra Secretary Michael Gove revealed in November last year.

“The weight of evidence now shows the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our £100bn food industry, is greater than previously understood,” Mr Gove told The Guardian.

The European Commission says it closely monitors the possible relations between bee health and pesticides and is determined to take the most cautious approach possible to protect bees.