Government authorises use of neonicotinoid product for the 2021 sugar beet season

On 8 January 2021, in response to an application made by the NFU, the Government published a statement on its decision to issue emergency authorisation to permit the use of a product containing a neonicotinoid (which has been banned by the EU) as a sugar beet seed dressing in 2021. It has been well publicised that it is thought that neonicotinoids pose a risk to people, animals and the environment (in particular to bees and other pollinators), however the Government has granted an application for emergency authorisation to prevent the potential impact to the 2021 crop caused by the beet yellows virus.

The statement sets out the Government’s regulations for the emergency authorisation along with the conditions under which it can be used. The Government’s statement has authorised the use of the neonicotinoid when assessing the request against the following requirements: (1) the authorisation appears necessary because of a danger which cannot be contained by any other reasonable means, (2) the use of the product will be limited and controlled and (3) there are special circumstances. The proposed use of the neonicotinoid will be balanced against the potential harm it will cause to the environment if these requirements are met. This authorisation is also regulated by conditions, so as to minimise the risk to bees and other pollinators as much as possible, for example no flowering crop is to be planted within 22 months of the sugar beet crop and no oil seed rape crop to be planted within 32 months.

It remains to be seen whether further action will need to be taken in future years.

For more information about this or any other agricultural matter please contact Louisa Butcher on email [email protected].

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