top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Neonicotinoids to be banned in France from September 1

Neonicotinoid pesticides, widely seen as a key cause of declining bee populations, are to be forbidden in France from this Saturday September 1.

The ban will extend to seven neurotoxic insecticides - acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, nitenpyram and dinotefuran - and is designed to protect declining bee numbers and resultant crop failure.

Available since the mid-1990s, neonicotinoid pesticides have often been used to get rid of poisonous chenille caterpillars, cochineal bugs, aphids, and woodlice, and are widely described as the most commonly-used pesticides in the world.

However, neonicotinoids - even in small amounts - have been blamed for declining bee numbers and attendant problems, with beekeepers noting a significant decline in hive activity, and a rise in bee death rates since the introduction of the pesticides.

The substances have already been under restriction by the EU since 2013.

In April, the EU banned clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid from use on farms and in fields (although they will still be allowed in greenhouses), with the ban coming into force on December 19 this year.

France will go further, with a biodiversity law made in 2016 finally banning all of the substances in question from September 1.

Exceptions may be granted until July 1 2020, but only for pesticides made with acetamiprid, and only in “small amounts”, the French minister for ecological transition said.

Yet, some environmental organisations have called on the government to go further still, by totally banning pesticides often called “new generation neonicotinoids”.

These include flupyradifurone (which is already not allowed in France), and sulfoxaflor, an active ingredient in many pesticides - although a campaign to suspend the sale of the latter last year was successful.

François Veillerette, from the NGO Générations Futures, said: “We should not stop at banning just this family [of pesticides]. Many others should also be banned.”

The ban has not been welcomed by farmers and producers, who say they are at a “dramatic impasse”, and claim to not have definite replacement options for the banned substances.

Despite this, French food safety agency l'Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l'Alimentation, de l'Environnement et du Travail (Anses) has maintained that “sufficiently efficient and operational replacements exist” for the vast majority of the currently-permitted uses of neonicotinoids.

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now