UK: UK Charities Condemn Pathetic Government ‘Betrayal’ of Allowing Bee-Killing Pesticide In Sugar Beet Crops.

WAV Comment – As if the UK government is not in enough deep water with their Covid drinks parties ! – another issue to anger the general public and to head them deeper down to road to election loss next time round. Pathetic by ignoring scientific advice – but then they, the fools, have always thought of themselves as better. The people will decide.

The government has ignored the advice of its scientific advisers to allow sugar beet farmers to deploy a banned bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticide in 2022.

British Sugar has successfully applied for an exemption to permit the banned pesticide, known as Cruiser SB, to be used in England this year because of the threat to sugar beet posed by a virus transmitted by aphids.

The decision by the environment secretary, George Eustice, to allow the “emergency” use of the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam came despite the Health and Safety Executive and the government’s expert committee on pesticides concluding that the requirements for an emergency authorisation had not been met, and that pollution from the pesticide would damage river life.

Announcing the decision, the environment secretary said that farmers would be forbidden from growing flowering plants for 32 months after the sugar beet crop to reduce the risk to bees, but admitted: “It was not possible to rule out completely a degree of risk to bees (and this is the case even with a 32-month exclusion) from flowering plants in or near the field in the years after neonicotinoid use.”

Environmental charities condemned the move as “shameful” and “a betrayal”.

Sandra Bell, campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Allowing a bee-harming pesticide back into our fields is totally at odds with ministers’ so-called green ambitions, not to mention directly against the recommendation of their own scientists. This decision comes just two months after the government enshrined in law a target to halt species loss by 2030.”

Stephanie Morren, senior policy officer for the RSPB, said: “As we tackle the nature and climate emergency on our doorsteps we need decision-makers to support our farmers in delivering sustainable farming. This means upholding the ban on highly toxic pesticides like neonicotinoids, and instead working to support our farmers in reducing their reliance on these harmful chemicals.”

Matt Shardlow, chief executive of Buglife, said: “Neonicotinoids approved under the current pesticide approval process devastated populations of wild bees and heavily polluted rivers. It is shameful that no action has been taken to ensure that bee and wildlife destroying pesticides are properly assessed as being pollinator safe before they are approved or derogated for use.”

Neonicotinoids were banned for agricultural use across the EU and Britain in 2018 due to their devastating impact on bee populations. Tiny traces of these toxic chemicals in crop pollen or wildflowers damage bees’ ability to forage and navigate. A recent scientific study found that even a single exposure to a neonicotinoid insecticide could significantly damage future generations’ ability to reproduce.

The exemption for Cruiser SB was also granted in 2021 but was not needed by sugar beet farmers because modelling indicated that the yellows virus carried by aphids would pose no threat. In 2020, according to the government, the virus destroyed a quarter of the national crop.

Defra spokesperson said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and is based on robust scientific assessment. We evaluate the risks very carefully and only grant temporary emergency authorisations for restricted pesticides in special circumstances when strict requirements are met.

WAV Comment – ‘evaluate risks carefully’ = Defra bullshit.

“Last year the threshold was not met so the authorisation was never exercised. Strict criteria remain in place meaning this authorisation will only be used if necessary.”

UK charities condemn ‘betrayal’ of allowing bee-killing pesticide in sugar beet crops (msn.com)

Regards Mark

Additional:

Bees will die as ministers approve toxic banned pesticide for second time, warn experts (msn.com)

Bees will die as ministers approve toxic banned pesticide for second time, warn experts

A third of the UK bees have disappeared in 10 years  - AFP via Getty Images
© AFP via Getty Images – A third of the UK bees have disappeared in 10 years

Ministers have given the go-ahead for farmers to use a banned bee-harming pesticide in England for the second year running.The government went against the advice of its own scientific advisers, who said they did not see the justification for applying the neonicotinoid to sugar beet this year.

A single teaspoon of thiamethoxam is toxic enough to kill 1.25 billion bees, according to biology professor and insect expert Dave Goulson, and wildlife chiefs warned the decision could devastate already-struggling bee populations.

Environment officials announced they will permit the use of the pesticide to try to combat a virus transmitted by aphids.

They say the UK’s sugar harvest could otherwise be at risk this year and that “its exceptional temporary use will be tightly controlled and only permitted in very specific circumstances when strict requirements are met”.

Neonicotinoids are considered so harmful that they were banned by the UK and the EU in 2018, but since then 12 countries, including France, Denmark and Spain, have also granted emergency permits for neonicotinoid treatments to go ahead.

This time last year there was an outcry when ministers first gave beet farmers the green light to apply the pesticide, although eventually it was not used because a cold winter killed off the aphids.

Wildlife experts warned the decision “sounds a death knell for millions of bees and other insects” and flies in the face of government pledges to halt biodiversity loss.

The Pesticide Collaboration, which encompasses environmental organisations the RSPB, Friends of the Earth, Buglife and the Wildlife Trusts, said the would harm of wildlife and that the government should increase protection for bees and other wildlife from the harm caused by pesticides.

Minutes from a meeting of the Expert Committee on Pesticides say members agreed that the requirements for emergency authorisation had not been met and that pesticide water pollution caused by the decision would harm river life.

Even minute traces of neonicotinoid chemicals in crop pollen or wild flowers “play havoc with bees’ ability to forage and navigate, with catastrophic consequences for the survival of their colony”, according to the RSPB.

recent study showed that even one instance of exposure of a “neonic” insecticide significantly harmed bees’ ability to produce offspring.

A third of the UK bee population is thought to have vanished in a decade, yet up to three-quarters of crop species are pollinated by bees, studies show.

Thiamethoxam is a seed treatment, taken up by the whole plant, including the flower, pollen and juices from the plant insects forage on, wildlife experts say.

Sandra Bell, of Friends of the Earth, said: “Allowing a bee-harming pesticide back into our fields is totally at odds with ministers’ so-called green ambitions.”

Joan Edwards, of The Wildlife Trusts, said the decision was “a clear betrayal of promises made to protect the natural world and comes at a time when nature declines are worse than ever”, adding: “Less than two months ago the government adopted a legally binding commitment to halt the decline of wildlife by 2030 within its flagship Environment Act – the authorisation of this neonicotinoid flies in the face of this commitment and sounds a death knell for millions of bees and other insects.”

A Defra spokesperson said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and is based on robust scientific assessment. We evaluate the risks very carefully and only grant temporary emergency authorisations for restricted pesticides in special circumstances when strict requirements are met.

“Strict criteria remain in place meaning this authorisation will only be used if necessary.”

The government also says work on gene editing will help develop crops that are more resistant to aphids.

WAV Comment – I (Mark) am so angry about this; we are trying so hard to encourage bee reproduction and increase numbers with our ‘Bee Hotels’; and yet here we have a dickhead government that simply appears to give the green light to the deaths of millions more. Dickhead government by name, dickhead government by nature.

Here below you can see a few pictures of our bee hotel once we had made it. The little chambers in each log act as breeding tunnels for new bees to develop and then go into the wild as pollinators.

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