UFU disappointed following vote on neonicotinoids

Tuesday, 30 April, 2013

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has expressed disappointment following a vote by EU Member States to ban the use of neonicotinoids on crops following concerns raised about bee populations. The UK voted against the ban, however fifteen countries voted in favour and while it was not enough to form a qualified majority it does mean that, in accordance with EU rules, the EU Commission is set to enforce a two year restriction on neonicotinoids.

UFU Deputy President Barclay Bell said; “Locally, there is a relatively low usage of neonicotinoids but never-the-less, the arable and horticulture farmers who do use them will be very disappointed with this news. Ultimately, we would have liked to have seen more robust scientific research carried out, which included field trials across Europe, before a decision was taken on neonicotinoids. The trials linking the decrease in bee populations and the use of neonicotinoids were carried out in laboratories, not out in the fields, and the laboratory experiments do not adequately reflect the dosage bees would be exposed to in the fields. The UK has been running its own field trials which have shown no impact on bee populations, however, the UK’s field trials have been described as inconclusive. Overall, more concrete evidence is needed and what we would have liked to have seen was a commitment from the EU Commission to further research on this issue rather than moving straight to restrictions and a ban.

“Bees play a key role as pollinators for our crops and farmers do not take the use of pesticides lightly. All pesticides need to be used responsibly and farmers work hard to prevent harmful effects on non-target species, the environment, and human health.”