Readers may be aware, and pleased that the EU, having restricted the use of 3 neonicotinoids, actually increased those restrictions further for the same neonicotinoids.
That the EU then approved next generation neonics (Sulfoxaflor and Flupyradifurone) is unfortunately less well known.
If this is 'real progress', I hate to think what 'failure' might look like. I call this a 'neonics sham ban'.
Apparently, despite the EFSA investigation and report of 2012, the EU regulatory bodies have learned very little.
The restriction to 3 neonics (ban on outdoor use, greenhouse use permitted) received much media attention (including social media coverage), whilst the approvals of next generation neonics by the EU have received comparatively little attention.
For people to be falsely reassured is not great. I think it potentially gives a false impression as to what has actually been achieved, and a faith in the integrity of the EU pesticide regulatory system that is simply not warranted. There is little purpose in acknowledging the failure in a system, and then doing nothing to ensure such mistakes cannot happen again (let us remember, neonics were approved with inadequate evidence).
As I write (August 2018) this is still correct - from Hansards:
Alex Chalk Conservative, Cheltenham
"To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the effect on the bee population of using Sulfoxaflor and Flupyradifurone as alternatives to Neonicotinoids."
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:
"Insecticides are only permitted for use if scientific risk assessments find no harmful effect on people and no unacceptable effects on the environment. Assessment and decision making for active substances takes place at EU level and sulfoxaflor and flupyradifurone were approved in 2015.
Products containing approved active substances can only be used if authorised by the UK.
No authorisation has been given to date for any product containing sulfoxaflor or flupyradifurone. The assessment of any application for such a product would include full consideration of the potential effects on bees."
- Hansard source (Citation: HC Deb, 25 January 2018, cW)
Sulfoxaflor was initially approved and registered for use in the USA in 2013, but the approval was overturned November 2015.
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