Commission to Take Forward Neonicotinoid Proposals

The European Commission will take forward its proposals to restrict the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides in the future following a vote today.

In the Appeal Committee, EU Member States did not reach a qualified majority – either in favour or against – when discussing a Commission proposal that would prevent the use of the compounds clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam on spring cereals and crops attractive to bees.  In the vote, 15 Member States supported the restriction, 8 Member States voted against and 4 Member States abstained during the appeal committee vote.

Although the vote did not secure a qualified majority, the Commission has stated that since its proposal is based on a number of risks to bee health identified by the European Food Safety Authority, the Commission will go ahead with its text in the coming weeks.

Restrictions on the products may commence from 1 December 2013.  Exemptions may be for use on greenhouse crops and foliar use after flowering.  Importantly, the Commission accepted that crops harvested before they flower are not considered attractive to bees.

NFU Scotland’s Policy Manager for Environment and Land Use, Andrew Bauer said:

“Bee health and the use of plant protection products are emotive subjects as the heated debate around neonicotinoids has demonstrated.

“Whilst NFU Scotland remains convinced that more field-based research on neonicotinoids and bee health is essential, we recognise that the Commission will now bring in its restrictions before the end of this year.  For those Scottish growers affected by the decision, there is a window of opportunity between now and 1 December 2013 when they can seek professional advice and consider any changes that they may need to make to their cropping plans.

“We are relieved to see that discussions with farming organisations have convinced the Commission to include some sensible exemptions in its proposals and that the proposed measures will be subject to review within two years.  There is also recognition that field trials for further research purposes will continue.”

Notes to Editors

  • Following the request of the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published, on 16 January, its scientific findings on the risks associated with the use of three pesticides, belonging to the neonicotinoid family, on bee health. On the basis of this opinion, the Commission tabled a proposal for discussion with Member States.
  • Experts representing the EU-27 met in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 15 March and failed to reach a qualified majority - either in favour or against – the proposal to restrict the use of three neonicotinoids. 13 Member States supported the restriction, 9 Member States voted against and 5 Member States abstained. The proposal was then referred to today’s appeal committee (29 April).
  • The main elements of the European Commission proposal restrict the use of 3 neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) for seed treatment, soil application (granules) and foliar treatment on bee attractive plants and cereals. In addition, the remaining authorised uses are available only to professionals.
  • Exceptions will be limited to the possibility to treat bee-attractive crops in greenhouses and field-based crops but only after flowering.
  • The Commission intends that the suspension will come into force on 1 December 2013.  NFU Scotland understands that treated seeds can be bought and sold up until 30 November 2013.
  • As soon as new information is available, and at the latest within 2 years, the Commission will review the conditions of approval of the 3 neonicotinoids to take into account relevant scientific and technical developments.


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 59/13

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