Pesticide maker withdraws application to use bee-killing pesticides

Cranberry Specialist bee
CC BY 2.0 USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

Last week I reported that Syngenta was seeking an emergency exemption from Europe's neonicotinoid ban. Arguing that many UK farmers faced ruinous losses, Syngenta was seeking permission for limited applications of neonicotinoids to avoid flea beetle and aphid damage.

Bee advocates were, of course, up in arms. With evidence mounting that neonicotinoid use is a significant factor in recent bee declines, Europe's two-year precautionary ban for flowering crops is probably one of the most significant victories for environmentalists in recent years.

The good news is that this victory appears safe, for now. The Guardian is reporting that Syngenta has withdrawn its application for an exemption for this season, saying there's now not enough time to prepare seeds this year.

Whether or not the massive public outcry had anything to do with this decision is very hard to say. For Syngenta's part, according to a quote in The Guardian, they are simply saying that the government took too long to make a decision on the matter:

“Following an assessment of the current planting schedule for growers, Syngenta has decided to withdraw its application,” said a company spokesman. “Syngenta was clear that in order to supply the product to British farmers and, importantly, to ensure its effective stewardship, an approval from government was required by the end of June.”

This battle is far from over, however. The farming press, including AgroNews, is reporting that Syngenta expects to reapply for the 2015/2016 season.

Pesticide maker withdraws application to use bee-killing pesticides
Whether it was due to campaigners' pressure or government delays, Syngenta has decided it's too late to get permission to use neonics on British crops this season.

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