Gove neonicotinoid remarks seen by HTA as positive sign

The HTA has welcomed a comment by Defra secretary of state Michael Gove on neonicotinoids.

Michael Gove-Defra
Michael Gove-Defra

Defra secretary Michael Gove has told MPs UK Government policy on neonicotinoid pesticides will "follow both existing EU protections" and will be "enhanced in line with the science".

HTA horticulture head Raoul Curtis-Machin said: "These are encouraging words because we operate within the regulations at the moment.

"I'm very pleased he wants to take the science seriously. We've always asked for a risk-based approach based on science.

"It would be good to take emotion and politics out of the debate."

Gove said last month "I absolutely don’t want to water down" EU environmental protections.

Three neonicotinoids have been banned on flowering crops in the EU since 2013 after concerns about bee-health. Various studies have been done on neonicotinoids and bees, but the industry says none are conclusive.

The European Commission has proposed a ban on all uses outside.

A Greenpeace petition calling on Gove to "keep neonicotinoid pesticides away from our bees" has reached 130,000 signatures.

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