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UK Environment Minister Urged to Support Suspension of Pesticide Use

13 March 2013

UK - Government ministers from across the European Union will meet this week to decide whether or not to suspend the use of a pesticide linked to a dramatic decline in the bee population.

The meeting follows proposals from the European Commission to suspend the use of insecticides after mounting scientific evidence has pointed to the harm they cause bees.

The decision will be taken by the Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) on phytopharmceuticals, and there are serious concerns that the proposed suspensions lack sufficient support among EU governments.

Politicians from The Green Party have sent a joint letter to the UK’s Environment Minister, Owen Paterson, urging him to vote for a two year suspension in neonicotinoid use.

Keith Taylor, MEP for the South East of England, who signed the joint letter alongside Jean Lambert MEP and Caroline Lucas MP, said: "The threat from neonicotinoids cannot be ignored any longer. The UK government should, at the very least, support a two year suspension on the use of these pesticides.

"Bees are vital to our food supply and have an enourmous economic value. We urge Owen Paterson to support a suspension of these dangerous pesticides and give Europe's bee population a chance to recover."

The letter to Owen Paterson details the Greens' opposition to neonicotinoids and notes that a two year suspension is the bare minimum needed to begin protecting bee population. It says: "The EC's proposal [two year suspension of use] is a bare minimum - a total ban on all neonicotinoids would be more appropriate and in line with European law, given the mounting scientific evidence of the damaging effects on pollinating insects, due to the widespread use of these pesticides in the EU."

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