Monday, 18 March 2013

Plan Bee

"The UK government's refusal today to back EU proposals to ban three pesticides – imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin – identified by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as posing a risk to bee populations, is a damning illustration of precisely what Carson described: the failure of lawmakers to follow the precautionary principle and prioritise ecological wellbeing over commercial interests."

"Bees play an essential role in our ecosystem, pollinating plants and crops and massively enriching our natural world. Declining numbers are a huge threat to UK agriculture, with a report by the University of Reading estimating it could cost as much as £1.8bn a year to replace the free pollination service that bees provide, since farmers would need to collect pollen and distribute it by hand."

"One scientific study after another has emerged in recent years to implicate neonicotinoid insecticides as a factor in this alarming decline. Research from Harvard University, for example, found that imidacloprid, one of the most widely used pesticides, was the "likely culprit in sharp worldwide declines in honeybee colonies since 2006"."

"Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Stirling have warned of the "urgent need to develop alternatives to the widespread use of neonicotinoids pesticides on flowering crops", after research showed neonicotinoid-treated colonies had a significantly reduced growth rate and suffered an 85% reduction in production of new queens compared to control colonies."

"Yet despite assurance that it "would not hesitate to act if presented with new evidence", the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has turned a blind eye to the latest research and stubbornly refused to consider changing its position until it has done "extra fieldwork".

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