EJF and other environmental groups call on the government to support European pesticide restrictions
Feb 21, 2013

EJF and other environmental groups call on the government to support European pesticide restrictions

By EJF Staff

EJF joins a collection of environmental groups calling on Defra Secretary Owen Paterson to support the European Commission’s proposed restrictions on neonicotinoid use in a Standing Committee vote to be held in early March.

Sent by a group of environmental organisations – including EJF, the Pesticide Action Network (PAN UK), Friends of the Earth, the RSPB and the Soil Association – the joint letter asks Mr Paterson not to ignore the recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and to vote in favour of restricting neonicotinoid use in Europe.

recent report by the European Food Safety Authority – of acute risks to honeybees and other pollinators posed by the widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides.

>span class="standard-text">Despite this evidence, the UK’s Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), which Mr Paterson heads, does not consider it necessary to suspend or ban the use of neonicotinoids and has commissioned its own research to be carried out by the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA). The government will assess these findings before deciding on whether to vote for a ban.

However, instead of viewing the restrictions as a potential blow to British farming, the letter suggests that the vote represents an excellent to opportunity to support farmers in a real transition to more environmentally and economically sustainable pest management. While recognising the concerns expressed by some farming organisations about the possible impacts on farmers of the proposed restrictions, the group’s member stress that they do not believe these concerns are reasons for inaction, instead proposing the government support farmers to develop and implement pollinator-friendly farming methods.

“The imminent European vote to restrict the use of neonicotinoid pesticides represents the first major step toward protecting the UK’s pollinators. It’s a fantastic opportunity for real and meaningful action to halt the disappearance of bees, which would have catastrophic consequences for the UK’s environment and economy. It is vital that the government and Defra don’t choose to ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence of the threat these chemicals pose to honeybees and other pollinators.” Steve Trent, EJF Executive Director