The Bees and Neonicotinoids – it’s not good

This is taken from the mid-month Indigo Update for January 2021:

So, that’s it. We are now officially, finally, out of the EU. The deal is done – and, as always, the devil is in the detail. While much noise was made about imports & exports; about travel restrictions and reciprocal health agreements, much more is only now coming to light, thanks to eagle-eyed watchers.

The Guardian newspaper reported on 9th January that the UK Government had broken its promise to maintain the ban on bee-harming pesticides and – quite rightly – those who care about such things are buzzing with anger.

Back in 2018 the UK, along with other EU members, banned the use of a particular type of pesticides called neonicontinoids. Its own advisory board had stated, “scientific evidence now suggests the environmental risks posed by neonictinoids – particularly to our bees and pollinators – are greater than previously understood, supporting the case for further restrictions.”

It took a lot of work by those who care about the environment to achieve that particular victory, and so it is especially disappointing (to put it mildly) that the UK Government has reneged on the agreement so quickly. So keen was the Government to do this that it has enacted something called an “emergency derogation” which neatly circumvents the usual processes. It has decided to allow sugar beet produced in England to use seeds treated with the toxic neonic Thiamethoxam. The Government makes its case on its own website (link below) and cites “potential danger from the beet yellow virus”.

This is taken directly from that site:
”Sugar beet is a non-flowering crop and the risks to bees from the sugar beet crop itself were assessed to be acceptable. The applicant recognised that risks could be posed to bees from flowering weeds in and around the crop and proposed to address this with the use of industry-recommended herbicide programmes to minimise the number of flowering weeds in treated sugar beet crops. This was considered to be acceptable. The applicant recognised that the persistence and mobility of neonicotinoids in soils could result in residues with the potential to cause unacceptable effects to bees in following crops. Measures were proposed to mitigate the identified risks through the exclusion of flowering crops in subsequent cultivations.”

It should be pointed out – as EcoWatch does -that some countries still in the EU, and therefore still signatories to the 2018 ban, have also allowed “emergency use” of this toxic chemical, including Belgium, Spain and Denmark.

However, that does not make it right. We know that insects have been decimated over the past years with loss of natural habitat to concrete jungles and increased use of pesticides. Pollinators such as bees are a vital part of the delicate eco balance that ultimately provides the food we eat. Scientists may be playing in their labs with AI controlled pollinating machines but as Joni Mitchell famously sang so many years ago
“hey farmer, farmer, put away the DDT now,
Give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees

Thiamethoxam is not as easy to sing about as DDT, but the message
is the same. Big Pharma companies like Bayer (who purchased
Monsanto, the people who brought you Round-up) have megabucks
to spend pushing their agenda. Now that UK and even some
countries still in the EU have opened the door to these
neonicotinoids, it is really important to slam it shut once again.

Please sign one of the petitions currently doing the rounds and / or email your local MP. Here is the link to the SumofUs petition:



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