Environmental NGOs to fight Bayer and Syngenta over bee-killing pesticide ban

Monday 16th December 2013

Buglife, ClientEarth, SumOfUs.org and three other European NGOs are applying to the courts to defend a ban of three deadly chemicals found to have harmful effects on wildlife. The case, filed by producers Syngenta and Bayer, is against the European Commission, which applied the ban.

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers, Buglife Campaigns Officer said “The agrochemical companies have a duty of care to ensure their products are not harming the environment. Instead of proving they are safe, they’ve decided to take court action which shows a disconcerting lack of corporate responsibility. We will be applying to intervene by providing vital information and data on this subject.”

The EU-wide ban, which came into force on 1 December 2013, relates to three pesticides, thiamethoxam, imidacloprid and clothianidin, which belong to a class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids. The European Commission put forward the legislation in April this year and although the UK Government voted against it, it was supported by fifteen other Member States and passed.

Elizabeth Hiester, ClientEarth Senior Lawyer said “The survival of bees is more important for all of us than the interests of two multinational companies. The Commission is required by law to protect the environment and we in civil society have a moral duty to help the EU use the law in the interest of people and the planet.”

The European Commission adopted the ban on the basis of scientific assessments by the European Food Safety Authority, which identified a high acute risk to honeybees and an unknown risk to other pollinators like bumblebees and hoverflies. This was not a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ as stated by many who oppose the ban, but a careful and judged response to the scientific evidence.