Position statement on neonicotinoid pesticides

Position statement, April 2013

On Friday 5 April 2013, the House of Common’s Environmental Audit Committee released its report “Pollinators and Pesticides”. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) has advocated for the application of the precautionary principle and now feels with the body of evidence available that the three criteria needed for its application have been met. The BBCT thereby calls for a temporary moratorium on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on crops of insect-pollinated plants and for domestic use (e.g. in gardens). However, the BBCT urges very strongly that further testing in the field is needed and that the agrochemical companies should make public the results of their risk assessment trials to inform further research.  In calling for a precautionary moratorium, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust continues to urge governments in the UK and those in Europe to:

  1. Enhance, improve and extend the habitat on which bumblebees and other wild pollinators depend. 
  2. Research and evaluate the effects neonicotinoid insecticides have on pollinators and other biodiversity when used in the field.
  3. Work with other European countries in assessing the risks associated with the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, based on scientific evidence, not just on the honey bees but also on other bee species.
  4. Improve best practice guidance on the limited use of neonicotinoids.
  5. Improve pesticide regulatory assessments to take account of sub-lethal effects.
  6. Research the economic and environmental trade-offs between using neonicotinoid insecticides, restricting or banning their use and increasing habitat available for bumblebees.
  7. Place higher priority on developing safe alternatives.
  8. Improve the monitoring of bumblebees and other pollinators.


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