Earlier this week Friends of the Earth presented a petition to Homebase with over 18,000 signatures and letters urging the store not to sell flowering plants grown with three neonicotinoid pesticides.
Homebase has since released a statement and promises to stop using neonicotinoids by 2018. The company said: "As a responsible retailer, we remain committed to reducing our environmental impact, taking action where necessary with regards to our product ranges and supply chain.
"We have been working closely with our suppliers and seeking advice from other stakeholders about the use of neonicotinoids and we have committed to stop using these insecticides on garden plants, as well as removing neonicotinoid-based garden care products from sale by the end of 2018.
"This will be supported by a robust audit process, which will include ongoing monitoring of the evolving science surrounding pollinators.
"This decision took some time while we sought advice from our team and suppliers as well as other key stakeholders. This is consistent with the way we approach any decision that impacts our offer to customers."
Friends of the Earth has welcomed Homebase’s commitment to stop using neonicotinoids on garden plants, supported by a robust audit process.
Earlier this week giant Friends of the Earth bees visited a Homebase store in south London, pointing out that nine of the leading ten garden centres and retailers had already committed to telling plant suppliers not to use the chemicals.
Last week the UK government announced that it supports tougher restrictions on these bee-harming chemicals.
Friends of the Earth bee campaigner Dr Nick Rau said: “We’re delighted Homebase has committed to not using bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides on its garden plants, and to back this up with a robust auditing process.
“This is great news for our bees, and for the many thousands of people across the UK who urged Homebase to act.
“We hope the Royal Horticultural Society will now back calls for these neonic pesticides to be kept out of our garden plants.”