Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1452)

Charlie McConalogue


1452. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for his decision not to grant a derogation for the use of a plant protection product (details supplied); the alternative substances that are available to tillage farmers to control the barley yellow dwarf virus; and the supports that will be put in place for this purpose. [36824/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In 2013, the EU Commission introduced a partial ban on some neonicotinoids, including clothianidin, due to concerns about potential impacts on pollinators. Following further studies, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that, due to the potential risks, use of these neonicotinoids should be confined to permanent greenhouses. In April 2018, the EU Standing Committee on Pesticide Legislation recorded a qualified majority vote in favour of the EU Commission proposal to ban the use of clothianidin on outdoor crops which came into full effect on 19 December 2018.

During discussions at EU level throughout the period to the vote in 2018, the importance of clothianidin as a seed dressing for some crops was considered, including for sugar beet and cereals. However, the EFSA evaluations identified risks for all treated crops grown outside, particularly the potential for exposure of pollinators through uptake of neonicotinoid residues in soil by succeeding crops. EFSA were therefore very clear in identifying risks to the environment associated with the use of these chemicals.

My Department makes product authorisation decisions on the basis of the latest scientific information and must be guided by this evidence. After careful consideration, it was decided not to grant the emergency authorisation requested for this product.

This approach supports our commitment to a sustainable agriculture sector which is based on the fundamental protection of biodiversity, including pollinators, the environment and human health.

With regard to the issue of crop management options, Teagasc supports the Irish tillage sector by delivering science-led solutions that underpin both the profitability and environmental sustainability of our cropping systems. Teagasc have specific advisory information available in this regard and the further development of cultural control options continues to be explored.