Several e-petitions are relevant to this debate:
e-petition 563943, Continue the ban on the use of Neonicotinoids
e-petition 569214, Overturn the decision to allow the use of neonicotinoid pesticides
e-petition 590309, Ban urban and garden pesticides to protect bees, other wildlife and human health
e-petition 606788, Overturn the decision to allow the use of neonicotinoid pesticides
e-petition 618926, Save the bees: cut hazardous pesticides and support nature-friendly farming
The Library published a debate pack ahead of a Westminster Hall debate on neonicotinoids and bees held on 2 February 2022. See: Government approval for the use of neonicotinoids and the impact on bees [CDP 2022/0024].
- The pack contains information on the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on pollinators and the regulatory regime for their use. Until the UK left the EU, pesticides policy was decided at an EU level. The legislation governing the placement of pesticides on the market is Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland is still subject to these EU regulations, while Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) now operates a separate regime that began 1 January 2021. Great Britain is therefore able to diverge from EU decisions when it comes to pesticide approval. However, Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 remains part of EU Retained Law and its provisions still apply.
January 2023 updates:
- The EU banned outdoor uses of neonicotinoids in 2018 to protect pollinators, including bees. However, temporary emergency exemptions have allowed some growers to continue using the pesticides. A European High Court ruling on 19 January 2023 found that no derogation concerning seeds treated with neonicotinoids was justified, including in exceptional circumstances invoked to protect sugar beets. See: Chemical and Engineering News, European Union high court nixes neonicotinoid exemptions, 23 January 2023. This effectively puts an end to the emergency use of three banned substances – imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.
- The EU sugar beet industry strongly criticised the ruling. Environmental campaigners have welcomed it. See: EURACTIV.COM, EU sugar sector up in arms over decision to restrict bee-toxic pesticides, 23 January 2023.
- The French government announced on 24 January that it had decided not to pursue a further exemption for neonicotinoid use on sugar beet in light of the court ruling. See: Teller Report, France renounces neonicotinoids, 24 January 2023
- UK emergency authorisation: On 23 January, the Government granted an emergency authorisation for the use of neonicotinoids on sugar beet. See GOV.UK, Emergency pesticide authorisation approved to protect national sugar beet crop, 23 January 2023. The authorisation was welcomed by the sugar beet sector but criticised by environmental campaigners. See BBC News, Bee-harming pesticide use given emergency authorisation , 23 January 2023 and Wildlife Trusts, UK government allows ‘emergency’ use of banned bee-harming pesticide just days after EU tightens protections, 24 January 2023