Government allows farmers to use banned bee-harming pesticide

Emi Murphy

22 July 2015

Our Government has agreed to let bee-harming pesticides back into fields this autumn. It's ignored the overwhelming science showing that neonicotinoids harm bees.

After months of secrecy the Government has agreed to temporarily allow farmers, in some parts of England, to plant seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides.

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.

Dr Lynn Dicks of the University of Cambridge confirms this, as reported by the BBC:

We now have robust evidence that neonicotinoids have a serious impact on free-living bumblebee colonies in real farmed landscapes. 

The Bayer ingredient allowed under this derogation - clothianidin - is the one tested in the recent study. It showed that bumblebees in landscapes with treated oilseed rape produced only a third as many queens as those in landscapes treated with other insecticide sprays, but not neonicotinoid.

What’s the Government hiding?

The Government has refused to make publicly available the National Farmers Union (NFU) application.

It suppressed the notes of its expert advisors' meeting. But even though those have now been published they say nothing about the scientific basis for the decision.

Ministers promised that decisions would be science-based. But how can anyone be sure if the secrecy continues on a matter of huge public interest?

The NFU is threatening more attempts to get round the ban by the industrial farming lobby. Will those also be shrouded in secrecy?

It doesn’t end here for you and the bees

This is a limited and temporary permission for one crop in certain areas of the country. The Europe-wide restrictions on 3 neonics are still in place. And there’s more than enough evidence to make the ban permanent.

The lack of Government transparency show’s how much pressure it has been under from members of the public like you.

Stand by for more news on this from us. Meanwhile you can tweet Environment Secretary @trussliz to come clean on the science.

Click to tweet @trussliz

If you don't use twitter click here to see more things you can do to save bees.

Bumblee taking nectar from a flower