The UK will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has revealed(1).
The decision reverses the government’s previous position and is justified by recent new evidence showing neonicotinoids have contaminated the whole landscape and cause damage to colonies of bees. It also follows the revelation that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany and probably much further afield, a discovery Gove said had shocked him.
Gove said a post-Brexit farming subsidy system would channel more money into environmentally sustainable ways of farming. He also said:
“The most recent studies into neonicotinoids have taken the investigation out of a laboratory into the field to gather more meaningful results. These show a number of worrying indicators. First, when neonicotinoids are used on one crop, their residues can be found across the landscape. This contaminates pollinators’ food sources far and wide, not only on the crops where the pesticide was used. Second, wider investigation has shown that neonicotinoids can persist in soils for many years and have been detected in areas where there has been no known recent use. Neonicotinoids are also taken up by flowering weeds or subsequent flowering crops on those soils, causing further exposure to pollinators. Although the effects are subtle, the most recent studies point to a discernible effect on food sources and the productivity of bee colonies, which could have a worrying long-term impact on their populations” (2).
This is good news, and reflects earlier indications of the UK government’s new position, however, I’d like them to go further, to ensure the next generation neonicotinoids are not introduced in the UK - these have already been approved in the EU and not covered by the restrictions.
However, astonishingly, the Scottish Government has refused to back a ban of neonicotinoid pesticides, despite the position of the UK government. The Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing of the SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party) is apparently calling for further evidence before any decision is made (3).
Excuse me, Mr Ewing what planet have you been living on for the last 5 years?
Since the SNP are generally supporters of the EU and its position, I can only assume that this is an act of political childishness of 'sticking it to the Tories'.
We’ve seen this disgusting political manoeuvring before – that’s how Sulfoxaflor managed to get through the net! It’s NOT good enough! Bees are NOT poltical pawns Mr Ewing!!