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Government rejects pesticide exemption bid due to concerns over bees and the environment

PUBLISHED: 06:56 12 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:04 12 October 2018

Sugar beet in a field close to Cantley.

Picture: James Bass

Sugar beet in a field close to Cantley. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

The government has rejected an appeal for a temporary exemption to the EU ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments for sugar beet, due to "risks to bees and the wider environment".

The pesticides were controversially banned on flowering plants such as oilseed rape due to concerns over their impact on the health of bees – and the ban was extended to all outdoor crops, including sugar beet, in April

Three chemicals – clothianidin, iIidacloprid and thiamethoxam – were covered by the ruling, which was supported by the UK government.

Ministers said emergency authorisations would be considered in “exceptional circumstances”, but has refused an application made by the Norwich-based British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO) in an effort to protect next year’s sugar beet from pests such as the cabbage stem flea beetle.

A Defra spokesman said: “The Health and Safety Executive and UK Expert Committee on Pesticides have recommended that BBRO’s emergency applications for the use of neonicotinoids should not be granted, on the grounds that the risks to bees and the wider environment contained in the proposals are too great. Ministers have accepted these recommendations and the applications have therefore been refused.”

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