On the day the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides announced their report on confirming the clear damaging effects of neonicotinoids on pollinators, Syngenta has asked to be allowed to use one of its currently banned neonicotinoid pesticides on 186,000 hectares of oil seed rape in the UK.

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The news of this request for a derogation emerged at a Council Meeting of the National Farmers Union, which appears to support the request by Syngenta and also opposes the EC’s restriction on neonicotinoids.

Any such derogation, which has been asked for to control flea beetle, will undermine the temporary ban on the use of neonicotinoids imposed by the EU at the end of last year, making it even more difficult to assess the true impact of neonicotinoids on pollinators than was already the case.

Nick Mole of Pesticide Action Network UK, a member of the Bee Coalition said; “This is a clear attempt by Syngenta and the NFU to undermine the EU ban which they so bitterly opposed by the back door.”

Steve Trent of Environmental Justice Foundation, a member of the Bee Coalition said; “In light of today’s report it is imperative that the UK Government reject this request from Syngenta to use a banned pesticide which we know will be harmful to the UK’s pollinators and will undermine the effective monitoring of the neonicotinoid ban in the UK.”

The Bee Coalition regards Syngenta’s request as a deliberate attempt to undermine the EC’s temporary restriction on three of the main neonicotinoids, does not believe there is a justification for this derogation and urgently calls on DEFRA to reject this request.

It is thought that Syngenta, supported by the NFU, is seeking a quick decision from the UK Environment Department  (Defra) to allow  it to derogate from current EU restriction on three of the main neonicotinoids used in farming  mainly as seed  treatments before seed has to be sown in the ground by 14 August 2014. The request emerged on the same day that the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides released its review of evidence of  the effect of neonicotinoids on bees, wildlife, soils and water – http://www.tfsp.info/

A 2014 review of US literature by the Center for Food Safety concluded that neonicotinoid seed treatments do not deliver significant yield benefits in many contexts. It concluded “In sum, we found that numerous studies show neonicotinoid seed treatments do not provide significant yield benefits in many contexts. European reports of crop yields being maintained even after regional neonicotinoid bans corroborate this finding. Opinions from several independent experts reinforce that neonicotinoids are massively overused in the US, without a corresponding yield benefit, across numerous agricultural contexts. The bottom line is that toxic insecticides are being unnecessarily applied in most cases.” Heavy Costs. Weighing the Value of Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Agriculture. S Stevens & P Jenkins, Center for Food Safety, US, 2014. http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/files/neonic-efficacy_digital_29226.pdf

Source: The Bee Coalition