UK farmers have been given the green light to use a bee-killing pesticide banned by the EU due to the planet's biodiversity crisis. Environment secretary George Eustice has agreed to let a product containing the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam to treat sugar beet seed this year to protect the crop from a virus." This is a direct quote from The London Economic on UK farmers being given the go-ahead by the environment secretary to use bee-killing pesticide to protect crops, however with no bees there are no crops, and no people. The UK has seen a decrease of up to a THIRD its bee population in just the last decade. The government knows this is dangerous to our countries pollinators, but they’re ignoring it, so we have to do something about it.
Wildlife trusts have this to say (quote from The London Economic): "Bad news for bees: The Government has bowed to pressure from the National Farmers Union to agree the use of a highly damaging pesticide."
The government know the clear harm that neonicotinoid pesticides cause to bees and other pollinators, and just three years ago supported restrictions on them across the European Union. Insects perform vital roles such as pollination of crops and wildflowers, and nutrient recycling, but so many have suffered drastic declines.
Formally, EU members in 2018 banned most neonicotinoids for use on crops outdoors, to protect bees. Subsequent decisions by 11 countries to allow emergency use come amid growing awareness of the harmful role of refined sugar in developing long-term health problems.
Matt Shardlow, the chief executive of the invertebrate conservation group Buglife, said it was an “environmentally regressive” decision that would destroy wildflowers and add to an “onslaught” on insects.
“In addition, no action is proposed to prevent the pollution of rivers with insecticides applied to sugar beet,” he said. “Nothing has changed scientifically since the decision to ban neonics from use on sugar beet in 2018. They are still going to harm the environment.”
Michael Sly, the chairman of the NFU sugar board, said he was relieved the application had been granted and that the sector was working to find long-term solutions to virus yellows disease. “Any treatment will be used in a limited and controlled way on sugar beet, a non-flowering crop, and only when the scientific threshold has been independently judged to have been met,” he said.
“Virus yellows disease is having an unprecedented impact on Britain’s sugar beet crop, with some growers experiencing yield losses of up to 80%, and this authorisation is desperately needed to fight this disease. It will be crucial in ensuring that Britain’s sugar beet growers continue to have viable farm businesses.”
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