Legal action against 2013 ban dismissed
An EU court has upheld a partial ban on three neonicotinoids that have been linked to declining bee populations.
In 2013, the European Commission placed restrictions on clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid, owing to evidence of the threats they pose to bees.
Bayer, which developed clothianidin and imidacloprid, and Syngenta, which developed thiamethoxam, challenged the regulation.
However, the General Court of the European Union said yesterday (17 May) that it upholds the ban and ‘dismisses in their entirety the actions brought by Bayer and Syngenta’.
The ruling states that the commission had correctly applied the ‘precautionary principles’, which allow protective measures to be taken without having to wait until harm occurs, when there is scientific uncertainty about the risks to human health or the environment.
A recent report by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) found that all neonicotinoids pose a threat to many bee species, regardless of how or where they are used in the environment.
Last month, a majority of EU member states agreed to ban the outdoor use of clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid, limiting their use to crops in greenhouses.
However, the court did annul the measures restricting fipronil, following a challenge brought by chemicals company BASF. The ruling states that the commission breached the precautionary principles by failing to carry out an impact assessment before adopting the restrictions in 2013.