The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has advised farmers to speak to MPs and members of the European Parliament on a proposed blanket ban of neonicotinoids on outdoor crops.

The call comes in response to European Commission proposals to widen neonicotinoid restrictions to ban all uses on field-grown crops, extending its current restrictions to include non-flowering crops.

The NFU is calling on the Commission to reconsider the proposal to enable time for discussion with member states and the industry. It has written to the European Commission outlining its concerns and the consequences that it would have on farmers.

Guy Smith, vice-president for the NFU, said a blanket ban of neonicotinoids on outdoor crops would be devastating for farms across the country.

“Neonicotinoid seed treatments form an incredibly important part of the integrated pest management approach which farmers adopt,” Smith said. “I know it would make implementing this approach more difficult for farmers without these seed treatments.

“By denying UK farmers these key crop production tools, our competitors, who have access to these products, are being gifted a market. If politicians are made aware of the consequences of a ban, they may be persuaded to vote against one.”

In April 2017, new Great British Bake Off presenter Prue Leith urged shoppers to back British farming.