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  1. ITV Report

EU to introduce ban on pesticides linked to bee deaths

A ban on "neonicotinoids" pesticides could be introduced within weeks. Photo: PA Wire

A ban on pesticides feared to be killing bees is set to be introduced in "coming weeks" after a majority of EU governments backed a move fiercely resisted by the UK coalition.

Although a majority of the 27 EU countries supported the move, the decision still fell short of the "qualified majority" of member states required to make the ban on on "neonicotinoids" automatic.

Instead the Commission is seizing on its right - after two votes of EU member states failed to clear the hurdle - to make the final decision.

ITV News Science Editor Lawrence McGinty reports:

The UK was among eight countries that voted against the ban, and another four abstained.

Since our proposal is based on a number of risks to bee health identified by the European Food Safety Authority, the Commission will go ahead with its text in the coming weeks.

I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over 22 billion euros (£18.5 billion) annually to European agriculture, are protected.

– EU HEALTH AND CONSUMER COMMISSIONER TONIO BORG

Dr Nigel Raine, a bee researcher at Royal Holloway, said the result was "good news".

Greenpeace has urged the European Commission to act swiftly to introduce the ban for at least two years on three pesticides the organisation says have been shown scientifically to be harmful to bees.

Paul de Zylva, a senior nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said a ban would give bees "breathing space from years of being dosed up with these chemicals".