I don’t have any opinion on this story:
Member states will vote on Friday on an almost complete ban on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides across the EU.
Scientific studies have linked their use to the decline of honeybees, wild bees and other pollinators.
But I will say…
Another key element that has pushed the Commission to hold a vote has been the UK’s change of heart on the use of these insecticides. Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced last November that the UK would now support further restrictions.
“I think it has helped the dynamic,” Franziska Achterberg from Greenpeace told BBC News.
“It has helped sway Ireland definitely, and then lately, the Germans, the Austrians and the Dutch. I think the fact the UK had come around was a good signal for them as well, that they could not stay behind.”
“Several countries have said they want exemptions on sugar beet for example,” said Sandra Bell from Friends of the Earth (FOE).
“So far the Commission have been very strong on this, because they say the Efsa evidence backs the extension of the ban to sugar beet and therefore they are following the science and won’t put in an exemption for a compromise.”
…any EU initiative which has the support of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth ought to be treated with extreme caution.
Many farmers are unhappy about the proposed increase in restrictions, saying they do not believe they are warranted on scientific grounds and that the existing partial ban has not delivered results.
So we have British farmers getting up at 5am every morning to labour in the fields; and we have wealthy middle-class do-gooders sitting in climate-controlled offices in European cities banning things they find useful. Even if this ban is necessary I don’t like the setup much, mainly because it is representative of how so much of the western world is governed these days.
Which brings me onto something else. I have heard from several disparate sources that EU regulations have slowly eradicated any sort of useful household chemical, from cleaning products, to garden pesticides and weedkillers, to wood preservers. Is this true? Anyone know? I assume school caretakers no longer mark the running track with creosote, which is a shame because I liked the smell of that stuff. My dad also used to slap it on saw blades to keep them from rusting. I have no idea where he got it from, presumably you could buy it somewhere. I bet you couldn’t just go into B&Q today and buy a litre of the stuff. Not being a user of chemicals I don’t know how things have changed, but I’d be curious to know if EU regulations have removed useful products from the shelves.