UK to Oppose EU Ban on Pesticides Linked to Bee Decline

by | Mar 14, 2013

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The UK is not expected to support the European Commission’s upcoming vote on a proposed Europe-wide ban of three pesticides linked to serious harms in bees, leaving it little chance of being passed.

Owen Paterson, the UK’s environment secretary, is set to oppose the proposal, despite almost three-quarters of the UK public backing the ban, reported The Guardian. The YouGov poll, conducted for Avaaz, found 71 percent of Britons said the UK should vote in favor of the two-year ban.

Imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin are among the three neonicotinoid chemicals identified by the European Food Safety Authority and scientists from EU member states as posing a risk to bees. The EC proposal would ban the use of three neonicotinoids from use on corn, oilseed rape, sunflowers and other flowering crops for two years.

The European Commission will vote on the proposal Friday. The opposition of the UK, Germany and Spain will most likely outweigh the support of France, the Netherlands and Poland, reported The Guardian.

The United Nations released a report “Global Bee Colony Disorders and other Threats to Insect Pollinators” ahead of the EC vote that says the potentially disastrous decline in bees is likely to continue unless humans profoundly change their ways from the use of insecticides to air pollution. About three-quarters of global food crops rely on bees and other insects to fertilize their flowers. The decline of honeybee colonies due to disease, habitat loss and pesticide harm is concerning, according to the UN report.

Despite petitions by beekeepers and environmental groups, the substances remain legal in the US and Europe. However, there has been some progress with businesses.

In January, two UK hardware retailers B&Q and Wickes announced they would no longer sell products containing pesticides linked to declining bee populations. B&Q says it will no longer stock pesticide containing the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid, and Wickes says it will replace a product containing the neonicotinoid insecticide thiamethoxam later this year.

Photo by stock.xchng

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