A bee gathers honey from an orange blossom
18 March 2016

The National Assembly votes in favour of the ban on neonicotinoid insecticides in 2018

During discussions on the biodiversity restoration bill, the National Assembly recently voted to ban neonicotinoid insecticides as of 1 September 2018.
Content published under the Government Valls III from 2016 11th February to 2016 06th December
 
The ban on neonicotinoid insecticides, which will come into force on 1 September 2018, is a responsible solution that provides the necessary time to assess alternatives, in terms of their pest control effectiveness and health and environmental impacts, particularly on bees. Indeed, an overnight ban as of 1 January 2017 on all neonicotinoid insecticides would have required the use of other insecticides that have not been proven to be less toxic for the environment and bees. 
 
True to his commitment, the Minister of Agriculture, Stéphane Le Foll, referred the ban to ANSES (the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety). Based on its opinion, France will put the matter to the European Commission so that the potential restrictions can be applied throughout the European Union.
 
Furthermore, France will oppose at European level Germany’s request, supported by Austria, to increase the maximum limits on thiacloprid residues permitted in honey. Germany, which, like France, does not allow the use of neonicotinoid coated seeds for rapeseed, allows two applications of neonicotinoids during flowering periods compared with the single application authorised in France. As a result, German beekeepers are unable to comply with the current standard, whereas this standard is adhered to for honey produced in France.
 
As a reminder, Stéphane Le Foll banned Cruiser OSR on rapeseed in 2012. This was the first case that he brought before Brussels, leading to bans and significant restrictions on use throughout the EU on three of the five neonicotinoid substances available in Europe. The assessment reports have also been re-opened at European level for the two other neonicotinoid substances, which are less harmful to pollinators. France has been taking action since 2013 to speed up these re-assessments in light of all of the new scientific data available.
 
The Minister of Agriculture supports agro-ecology and the development of agricultural practices that massively reduce the use of chemical inputs, but it will take time for this major transition to become established across the country. The new pesticide reduction programme Ecophyto 2 and the introduction of phytosanitary efficiency certificates, both of which he champions, also help to achieve this objective.


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