The European General Court has rejected industry evidence that the European Commission decision to restrict certain uses of three neonicotinoid insecticides – clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid in 2013 did not have a legal basis.
The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) expressed disappointment at the ruling. AIC said it supported the action brought by Bayer Crop Science and Syngenta as it ‘firmly believes in an approval system that is based on scientific evidence, independent review and an assessment of impacts, rather than politics’.
Hazel Doonan, head of AIC’s crop protection sector said: “Effective modern crop protection products are an essential part of meeting UK Government’s drive to raise productivity whilst enhancing the environment.
“If innovation is to take place, it relies on those involved in discovering and bringing new technology to the market, to have a clear regulatory framework within which to operate.”
Syngenta said: “Today’s European General Court ruling is disappointing and unfortunate. We stand by our past decision to challenge the European Commission’s decision-making process concerning our thiamethoxam technology as it relied on a hypothetical risk to implement partial restrictions on neonicotinoid chemistries, outside legally approved regulation.
"Predictable regulatory frameworks and their consistent application by regulators enable companies like Syngenta to innovate and thus support European farmers and ultimately European consumers with locally produced, safe and affordable food.”
A Bayer spokesperson said: “Bayer is disappointed with the verdict of the General Court of the European Union on Case T-429/13 - Bayer CropScience v European Commission. The Court has ruled that the European Commission’s decision from 2013, which restricted the use of certain neonicotinoids, was lawful. Bayer will review the verdict in detail and assess its consequences and potential legal options.
“Bayer decided to pursue legal action to gain clarity on the legal basis of the Commission’s decision, which – in Bayer’s opinion – was uncertain. Bayer remains convinced of the safety of its products when applied in accordance with the label instructions.”