Bee on purple flower

Government backs ban on neonicotinoid pesticides

Success for Friends of the Earth bee campaign as Michael Gove listens to the experts.
  Published:  09 Nov 2017    |      2 minute read

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced that tougher restrictions are needed on bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides, recognising that the science is stacking up against them and that farmers are farming successfully without them.

His landmark decision is down to millions of people keeping up the pressure for a full ban on bee-harming neonics – and it demonstrates just how powerful we can be when we act together.

Welcoming Michael Gove’s decision, Friends of the Earth’s chief executive Craig Bennett said:

“Michael Gove is to be congratulated for listening to the experts. The scientific evidence for a complete ban on bee-harming pesticides is now overwhelming.

“Tougher restrictions on neonicotinoids are essential for our precious bees and the wider environment – and a significant victory for the public and supporters of organisations like Friends of the Earth who have called for tougher action on these chemicals.

“To their credit farmers across the UK are already finding innovative ways to successfully grow crops without neonicotinoids, even ahead of the ban being extended.

“But lessons also need to be learned – we now need to move away from chemical-intensive farming and instead boost support for less damaging ways of tackling persistent weeds and pests.

“The UK must follow through on today’s announcement by backing current European Commission proposals to get these pesticides completely out of our fields.”

Why the ban is needed

In 2013 three neonicotinoid pesticides were restricted from being used on flowering crops attractive to bees across the EU when it was revealed they posed a threat to bees.

But neonic-treated seeds are still widely used in other crops - such as wheat - so are still entering the soil and water. Evidence shows they can still spread to wild flowers or flowering crops too.

That's why the European Commission wants to extend the ban to all crops. Member States are expected to vote on this soon.

Your support is vital now

A YouGov poll, commissioned by Friends of the Earth and published in August 2017, found that over three quarters of the UK public (76%) thought the UK government should support EU proposals to extend the current neonic restrictions to other crops.

Now we need to make sure the UK follows through on Mr Gove's announcement by backing European Commission proposals to get these pesticides completely out of our fields.

Please add your voice again now - and make sure Michael Gove knows your view - by clicking the button below and signing our petition. Thanks.