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The EU Just Made a Dramatic Move to Protect Bees
May 25 2018, 02:54 | Irvin Gilbert
A bee collects pollen from blossoms in a public garden in Vienna Thomson Reuters
Member states have now endorsed proposals by the European Commission to completely ban the outdoor use of the three active substances, meaning they can only be used in greenhouses.
The ban on neonicotinoids, approved by European Union member nations today, is expected to come into force by the end of this year and the chemicals will now only be allowed to be used in closed green houses.
Based on a survey of 1,500 studies, the EFSA determined that the three neonics that were already partially banned left a toxic residue in the crop plants' pollen and nectar, meaning they still posed "a high risk" to bees, according to Nature.
The 28 member states got a large majority, representing three-quarters of its population, backing the ban on the three prevalent neonicotinoid pesticides which will take effect at the end of the year.
"When used incorrectly, neonicotinoids could potentially have negative impacts on pollinators", says Dr Thomson-Carter. "There is a real risk that these restrictions will do nothing measurable to improve bee health, while compromising the effectiveness of crop protection".
This is another blow to farmers at a time of significant uncertainty.
Member states of the European Union are set to vote in a complete ban on a particular pesticide which could help save a significant amount of bees in Europe. The plummeting numbers of pollinators in recent years has been blamed, in part, on the widespread use of pesticides.
Sandra Bell, bee campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said that the "comprehensive" ban is a "tremendous victory" for our bees and the wider environment.
As things stand, the pesticide is the most commonly used in the world and while there has been pushback from a number of farming groups, organisations such as the European Food Safety Authority have said its use in any environment brings more harm than good.
A spokesman for the Environment Department (Defra) said: "We are committed to enhancing our environment for the next generation, and welcome the vote today in support of further restrictions on neonicotinoids. Given the overwhelming body of scientific evidence and overwhelming public concern, EPA as well as leading US food retailers like Kroger should take immediate action and eliminate the use of these toxic pesticides". Research suggests that Taylor's concerns are unfounded, while the dramatic decline in pollinator populations - which will continue to occur without action - proves disastrous for food production. Removing yet another tool from farmers which helps them control pests and disease will negatively impact their ability to farm efficiently and profitably, as we develop a post-Brexit strategy for agriculture.