Two neonicotinoid pesticides permitted by the UK following Farmers Union application

The UK government has temporarily lifted a ban on the use of the controversial pesticide neonicotinoids, even though there is still an EU-wide moratorium on the chemical’s usage.

Following the publication of a European safety study in 2013, which concluded that neonicotinoids may be causing a decline in honeybee numbers, the EU announced that three neonicotinoid insecticides would be banned for up to two years. But the moratorium has been met with protestations from chemical manufacturers, such as Bayer and Syngenta, who vehemently contested the report’s findings.

Now, after an emergency application was filed by the National Farmers Union (NFU), the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has announced that two of the three banned pesticides may now be used for 120 days on approximately 5% of England’s oilseed rape crops.

Although the exact location of where the neonicotinoid will be deployed is yet to be finalised, the NFU hope its use will help to stymy the ongoing damage inflicted by the cabbage stem flea beetle – a major pest for oilseed rape.

The decision has been met with widespread criticism from environmental groups. Paul de Zylva, a spokesperson for Friends of the Earth, said in a statement: ‘It’s scandalous that the government has caved in to NFU pressure.’