Following the EU vote earlier today on neonicotinoid insecticides, NFU lead on bee health Dr Chris Hartfield said: The Commissions decision to ban three widely used neonicotinoids is likely to have catastrophic impacts for food production and unintended consequences for the environment, without delivering any measurable benefits for bee health. It is right that we take steps to protect bees they are vital pollinators, but, any action needs to be proportionate to the problem. Crucially, we have to be confident that when we make changes, these changes will actually deliver benefits. At the moment, there is no evidence to show that there are any harmful effects of neonicotinoids on bees under field conditions. If we cannot find evidence of harm in the field, then it follows that we will not be able to measure any benefits of a ban either.
This issue is about science and evidence, and finding a balanced way to tackle the significant challenges to bee health. However, it looks like we are about to make populist changes that do nothing to measurably improve the situation for bees, but will make it harder and more costly for farmers and growers to control pests on a whole range of agricultural and horticultural crops.