The EU Commission has adopted a controversial ban on the use of certain pesticides in an attempt to tackle the decline in bees, according to spokesman Koen Doens:
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.
Beekeepers say the ban will only have a marginal effect on honey bees and wild bees and fear it will lead to farmers using older, more damaging pesticides.
Paul de Zylva, senior nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth, has said today's moves to introduce an EU ban on the use of pesticides scientifically linked to bee deaths is "great".
"It will give bees breathing space from years of being dosed up with these chemicals, which haven't been tested properly, particularly on wild bees".
Dr Nigel Raine, a bee researcher at Royal Holloway, has welcomed the result of an EU vote to introduce a ban of three pesticides believed to be harmful to bees.
He told ITV News it was "good news" and when the ban comes into effect it will be "crucial" to monitor bee populations to make sure it is effective.
He added that "we need to think about what we're going to use instead".
The European Commission said it would go ahead with the ban "in the coming weeks".
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 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.
– EU HEALTH AND CONSUMER COMMISSIONER TONIO BORG
Although a majority of member states now support our proposal, the necessary qualified majority was not reached. The decision now lies with the Commission.
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.
– Marco Contiero, Greenpeace EU agriculture policy director
Today's vote makes it crystal clear that there is overwhelming scientific, political and public support for a ban.
Those countries opposing a ban have failed. Now, the Commission must draw the only conclusion possible and immediately halt the use of these pesticides as a first step to protect European food production and ecosystem.
A ban on pesticides feared to be killing bees was on the cards today after a majority of EU governments backed a move fiercely resisted by the UK coalition.
After a vote in Brussels, Greenpeace 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.