CPA Chief Executive Nick von Westenholz said: "We are very concerned by calls for a suspension of neonicotinoid insecticides in the UK and Europe. This is a disproportionate reaction to a complex problem and there is no evidence that such a move will lead to any meaningful improvement in bee health. It would nevertheless have a significant impact on the ability of farmers and growers to produce safe and affordable food for UK consumers.
"Defra has recently reviewed published studies on the effects of neonicotinoids and concluded that the risk to bee populations from neonicotinoids, as they are currently used, is low. Furthermore, they found that laboratory based studies did not replicate realistic conditions and there is still no evidence that neonicotinoids actually lead to bee health decline out in the field.
"The reasons that there are declines in some pollinator populations are complicated and not well understood and include factors such as habitat loss, viruses and parasites. Efforts at promoting bee health must be focused on tackling these issues. Bees and other pollinators are vital to agriculture and the crop protection industry is committed to working with farmers and others in promoting bee health.
"I would urge those who have been calling for a ban on products such as these to take a step back and consider what measures are really needed to protect bee health, rather than simplistically blaming the nearest chemical. These products undergo an incredibly rigorous approvals process, which ensures their environmental impact is minimised. Removing crop protection products from use is not "playing it safe", but has serious implications for the food production in the UK and Europe.”