Emergency sugar beet neonicotinoid applications rejected

The UK Government has refused two applications made to use neonicotinoid products as seed treatments for sugar beet.

The applications were made by the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO) seeking emergency authorisations for ‘Poncho Beta’ and ‘Cruiser SB’.

The products can provide protection against a range of pests and the viruses which they transmit.

However, having received the scientific assessment of the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP), Ministers decided to reject both applications.

The applications met two out of three criteria – need and limited use – however, fell at the third criteria – that the risk to bees was too great.

Government policy

Earlier this year, the Government supported new rules which prohibit the outdoor use of three neonicotinoids – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam – from December.

In taking that position, it made clear that it could consider emergency authorisations in exceptional circumstances where there was a real need for the products and the risk to bees and other pollinators was sufficiently low.

In this case, the HSE and ECP recommended that emergency authorisations should not be granted for the proposed uses on the grounds that the risks to bees and the wider environment contained in the proposals put forward were too great.