MPs call for ban on 'nerve agent' neonicotinoid pesticides to protect dwindling bee population

 

A A A

“Nerve agent” pesticides should be banned until science has established whether they are to blame for the rate at which bumblebees and other insects are vanishing from the countryside, a committee of MPs has urged.

The All Party Environmental Audit Committee has called for a precautionary moratorium that would prevent three types of neonicotinoid pesticide from being used on the plants that attract bees while they are in flower.

The Government has opposed any pesticide ban despite pressure from the EU. This week the chief scientific adviser at the Department of Environment, Professor Ian Boyd, conceded that the issue is “finely balanced” although the government is not convinced that a ban is required.

The report, published today, acknowledges that no-one knows the exact reason why two-thirds of the insects that pollinate plants, such as bumblebees, hoverflies, butterflies, carrion flies, beetles, midges and moths, are disappearing. Possible causes include climate change, disease and loss of habitat, but there is also a body of research which points the finger at toxic pesticides. The findings are disputed by chemical firms, who have produced their own findings, though they have not allowed independent scutiny of these, claiming that it is commercially sensitive.

France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia have suspended the use of some neonicotinoids in specified circumstances, and the European Commission has proposed an EU-wide moratorium on imidacloprid, clothianidin and TMX, the three neonicotinoids singled out in the committee report.

Several DIY and garden stores, including B&Q, Wickes and Homebase, have stopped selling products to amateur gardeners that contain neonicotinoids. The report says that selling neonicotinoids for public domestic use should be banned outright.

Joan Walley, the Labour MP who chairs the Environmental Audit Committee, said it would cost farmers millions of pounds to do the job that pollinating insects do for nothing.  “We believe that the weight of scientific evidence now warrants precautionary action, so we are calling for a moratorium on pesticides linked to bee decline to be introduced by 1 January next year,” she said.

But Sytngenta, the company that produces TMX, said in a written statement: “Although governments, reputable universities and experts across Europe share the view that these innovative pesticides are safe, there are a small number of vocal individuals and groups who continue to suggest the opposite by focusing only on the intrinsic hazard of these products.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015