A petition has been launched after it was revealed UK farmers have been given the green light to use a bee-killing pesticide banned by the EU to treat sugar beet seed.
Environment secretary George Eustice has agreed to the use of a product containing the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam to treat certain crops this year in an effort to protect it from a virus.
Setting out conditions for the “limited and controlled” use of the pesticide, officials said the minister had agreed an emergency authorisation of it for up to 120 days after British Sugar and the National Farmers Union had lobbied the government.
But the Wildlife Trusts said neonicotinoids pose a significant environmental risk, particularly to bees and other pollinators.
Taking to Twitter, they said: “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.”
A number of celebrities including Sue Perkins have put their name to a petition calling for the environment secretary to reverse the decision.
Quoting a pledge from Michael Gove in 2017, shortly after the Brexit referendum, she said she is “so sick of the endless, endless lies”.
2017: ‘The principal public good we will invest in is environmental enhancement.” Gove— Sue Perkins ? (@sueperkins) January 10, 2021
2020: Introducing banned pesticides that harm bees
I am so sick of the endless, endless lies.
Sign the petition here:
Others called on people to save the animal that has faced an uphill battle in recent years, even though it is a crucial component of the country’s ecosystem.
Studies have shown that a third of the UK bee population has vanished in a decade, yet up to three-quarters of crop species are pollinated by bees.
Sign the petition here.
Please sign and share to save our fuzzy bee friends. Thankyou. https://t.co/tVTFbdQfI7— Gladstone (@TreasuryMog) January 10, 2021