A bee gathers honey from an orange blossom
4 September 2018

Ban on neonicotinoid insecticides: France is leading the way in Europe

The use of five neonicotinoid (NNI) insecticide substances that have proven to have particularly harmful effects on the environment (especially pollinators, and that includes bees above all) will now, as from 1 September 2018, be banned in France.
 
This ban concerns all users, whether professional or amateur, and all currently authorised products in France, irrespective of their application method – as a treatment for soil, seeds or the aerial parts of plants. There is no grace period for using up residual stocks.

France is thus leading the way in terms of protecting pollinators and has been the driving force behind the European Union’s recent adoption of restrictions bearing on the use of three of these five substances. This European decision confirms the merits of France's position on the need to better protect insect pollinators.

The Government would like to go further in protecting health and the environment. The bill currently being debated in Parliament, which was drafted following the Food Convention, therefore provides for a ban on two additional substances, with identical modes of action. This is a decisive step forward in the fight against the massive decline in bee colonies and wild pollinators.

There are many situations in which neonicotinoids can be replaced with alternative solutions, including bio-control products. A recent report by the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (Anses) has thus shown that there is at least one alternative for nearly all neonicotinoid uses. The Government will assist farmers in this transition. Only very exceptional, specific uses, for one of the substances (acetamiprid), could require an exemption – given the lack of reasonable alternatives – and are currently being examined.

More broadly, the Government has unveiled an ambitious plan on pesticides which, in addition to rolling out the ban on neonicotinoids, gives precedence to swiftly eliminating the substances of greatest concern and to phasing out glyphosate.
 
 

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