Lobby pressure forces U-turn on ban on bee-killing pesticide

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 23 Jul 2015 10:53, Last updated: 2015-07-23
Bee colonies are threatened by pesticide use
Bee colonies are threatened by pesticide use

The Government has bowed to pressure from the farmers’ union to allow crop growers to use a banned pesticide that is blamed for the devastating decline in the number of bees.

The NFU says it has secured permission from Environment Ministers for the emergency use of neonicotinoid seed treatments to protect 30,000 heactres of oilseed rape crop from infestation.

However, several studies from around the world have found a direct link between the use of the class of pesticide and the widespread drop in bee colonies.

In April, a study by the University of Dundee confirmed neonicotinoids wreak havoc on the bee populations, ultimately putting some crops that rely on pollination in jeopardy.

Scientists discovered these pesticides kill bee brain cells, rendering them unable to function and survive. The report also suggested that the effects of these pesticides on bee colonies may be reversible by decreasing or eliminating the use of these pesticides on plants pollenated by bees.

However, despite the mounting scientific evidence Defra has allowed a restricted number of farmers a 120-day window to use seeds treated with neonicotinoids this autumn.

Friends of the Earth bees campaigner Paul de Zylva said: “It’s scandalous that the Government has caved in to NFU pressure and given permission for some farmers to use banned pesticides that have been shown to harm our precious bees.

“Ever more scientific evidence shows just how dangerous these chemicals are to bees and other pollinators - they should have no place in our fields and gardens.

“The NFU’s campaign to undermine the pesticides ban has given an impression of large crop losses nationwide, but this is not supported either by the scientific evidence or harvest figures.

“It’s completely unacceptable for the Government to refuse to make the NFU’s application publicly available - and it even asked its own independent advisors not to publish the minutes and agenda of key meetings.

"The secrecy around this application will only fuel the public’s mistrust of Government policy on pesticides.”

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, added: "The Government has chosen to accept the partisan and self-serving advice from the NFU while ignoring important evidence-based legislation set at EU level to protect our bees.

"In allowing neonicotinoids the Government takes a reckless risk which endangers the British bee."

The NFU said it would continue to lobby for the increased use of neonicotinoids and called on regulators to speed up the approval process.

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Comments about Lobby pressure forces U-turn on ban on bee-killing pesticide

There is no evidence of bee declines. Sense wins over hysteria. Latest independant field data showed no effect on honey bees.
April, london around 3 weeks, 5 days ago

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