Devon County Council takes big step to protect Britain’s bees

Emi Murphy

14 April 2016

The Council has committed to prohibit the use of bee-harming pesticides on its land, where it can.

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that pesticides called neonicotinoids are a threat to all bee species.

A tweet from Devon County Council confirmed the good news for Devon's bees:

“Devon County Council agrees an action plan to protect bees from harmful pesticides and will endeavour to ban use on its land #DCCCabinet” 

Nearly 4,000 Devon residents sign petition to ban neonics

bee pesticide petition Devon
John Hart from Devon County Council receives the petition

Two big, fluffy bees handed in a joint petition from Friends of the Earth, Devon Wildlife Trust, Devon Women’s Institutes and Buglife before decision day.  

Leader of the Council John Hart accepted the petition personally on the steps of County Hall in Exeter [see picture] ahead of the Cabinet meeting, proudly holding a placard stating “ban bee-harming pesticides”.  

What does this mean for Devon’s bees?

The ban will be part of a wider set of bee-friendly measures being drafted by council officials which is expected to include advice on cutting road verges and hedgerows, and planning guidance.

The move was kicked off by a motion tabled earlier this year by Councillor Gordon Hook. 

Mike Birkin, Friends of the Earth South West campaigner said: 

“It’s great to hear that Devon County Council is committed to preventing bee-harming pesticides from being used on council-owned land. We hope that other councils will now follow their lead.
 
“There is growing evidence of the threat neonicotinoids pose to bees – Devon is showing we must do more to protect these threatened pollinators that work so hard in our parks, gardens and countryside.”

Details of which parts of Devon County Council land will be covered by the ban have yet to be decided. 

So, while Devon County Council may not have the powers to prohibit neonics on the farmland it owns, the ban should cover all other parts of the Council’s estate including its country parks and nature reserve.

 

Help bees where you are

bee pesticide petition Devon