The Government have rejected an application to allow farmers to use bee-harming pesticides. Late last night the news was broken the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) had discarded the application to use neonicotinoid seed treatments on oilseed rape this autumn. Friends of the Earth are delighted with the news.
Dave Timms, Bee Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “The Government’s decision to reject this application is great news for Britain’s bees.
“Allowing farmers to use banned bee-harming pesticides would have been a real threat to these crucial pollinators.
“The Expert Committee on Pesticides has given a damning verdict on the applications. We hope the NFU will get the message and give up trying to bring back these dangerous chemicals.
“This refusal is extremely welcome, but the applications and evidence submitted are all still secret. They must be released immediately.
“Ministers must now push for the ban on these chemicals to be made permanent.”
Friends of the Earth had urged the government to refuse the application, pointing out that Government figures show the average UK oilseed rape yield rose nearly 7 per cent last year, in the first harvest after the ban was introduced.
They also highlighted recent scientific evidence which has added to the concerns about the impact of the three neonicotinoid pesticides on bees and other pollinators and there is no proof neonicotinoid seed treatments allowed last year may not have been effective against Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle.
Friends of the Earth added that crop losses due to Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle were lower this autumn, compared to the previous one and non-chemical means of controlling pests are available to farmers
Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee Count (May 19 – June 30 2016) is launched next week. It aims to raise awareness about the wide diversity of Britain’s bees, the threats they face and what people can do to help them. Register for the free app here.