Ireland set to back EU ban on bee-hazardous pesticides

European food watchdog running rule over impact of chemicals on pivotal pollinators

The European Food Safety Authority is reviewing the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and their potential impacts on pollinators such as bees. Photograph: Getty Images

The European Food Safety Authority is reviewing the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and their potential impacts on pollinators such as bees. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Ireland is prepared to back an EU prohibition on bee-harming pesticides.

The State has indicated it is willing to do this if the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) backs such a move, according to the Department of Agriculture which regulates pesticide use.

UK opposition

The EFSA, which is responsible for evaluating the safety of pesticides for use in the EU, is reviewing use of neonicotinoid pesticides and their potential impacts on pollinators such as bees.

A blanket ban on neonicotinoid use across the EU edged closer after the UK dropped its opposition earlier this month, on foot of its research confirming they were damaging pollinators.

In spite of opposition from the UK and Ireland, the EU in 2013 banned three neonicotinoids for use on certain crops such as oilseed rape after authorities identified risks to honey bees.

“The EFSA is engaged in an ongoing review of neonicotinoid uses and their potential impacts on pollinators. The department would take a positive view of a [European] Commission proposal reflecting the outcome of the EFSA review,” said a spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture.

UK environment secretary Michael Gove said new evidence indicated the risk posed by neonicotinoids to bees and other insects was “greater than previously understood”. He confirmed the UK would maintain a ban after it leaves the EU.