B&Q welcomes EU ban on pesticides
The European Union has voted to bring in a total ban on the outdoor use of three of the world’s most widely-used insecticides, due to the risk they pose to the bee population.
The ban on neonicotinoids, approved by EU member nations today, is expected to come into force by the end of this year and the chemicals will now only be allowed to be used in closed green houses.
Environmental organisation Friends of the Earth (FOE) has called the ban a “major victory for science, common sense and our under-threat bees”.
B&Q has also welcomed the decision, which comes as the widespread use of pesticides has been blamed for the plummeting numbers of pollinating insects, including bees, seen in recent years. In 2013 the EU issued a ban on the use of neonicotinoids on flowering crops that attract bees, such as oil seed rape and FOE describes “mounting scientific evidence of the threat these pesticides pose to our bees and other wildlife”.
In February, a major assessment carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that the high risk to both wild bees and honeybees resulted from any outdoor use of neonicotinoids, because the pesticides contaminate soil and water. As a result, neonicotinoid pesticides can then appear in wildflowers or succeeding crops in fields, while a global study of honey samples even revealed contamination by neonicotinoids – sometimes at worrying “neuroactive levels”.
B&Q market director Steve Guy said of the EU’s decision today: “B&Q was the first UK retailer to introduce a total ban on plants grown using neonicotinoids, and we absolutely welcome this new EU legislation. Back in 2017 we worked in conjunction with our growers to come up with a plan which saw B&Q become the first major retailer to take this important step. We’ve seen a brilliant response from consumers since we made this announcement – people really seem to understand just how important it is to support bees in their nature habitat.”
He added: “We believe this new legislation will make an enormous difference to the population of bees in the UK. The public can support them themselves by planting flowering pollinators in their gardens and using products which support nature.”
Emi Murphy, bee campaigner at FOE, which has been campaigning for tougher restrictions on neonicotinoids for a number of years, said: “This is a major victory for science, common sense and our under-threat bees. The evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides pose a threat to our bees is overwhelming.
“It’s great news that Michael Gove listened to the experts and backed the ban – he must now give farmers the support they need to grow food without bee-harming pesticides.
“Neonicotinoids are not the only threat bees face – ministers must urgently step up efforts to boost nature, protect wildlife-friendly habitats and tackle over reliance on pesticides in their post-Brexit farming policy.”