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Wildlife charity threatens legal action over bee killing pesticides

13/11/2012 14:16:56
butterflies/beetles/tough_bee

France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia have suspended various neonicotinoid insecticides. Meanwhile in the UK neonicotinoid use has grown to the point where they are used on 1.2 million hectares of the British countryside.

Government ignoring plight of Britain's bees
November 2012. Wildlife charity, Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust is asking the UK Government to justify its decision to allow the use of bee killing pesticides or face a court case. Buglife has sent Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) a letter outlining a possible case as a preliminary to legal action. Buglife has also submitted the letter as evidence to the current House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into the impact of insecticides on bees and other insects.

Suspended in France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia
Buglife argue that the legislation is clear; governments must take a precautionary approach in regulating pesticides. As a result France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia have suspended various neonicotinoid insecticides. Meanwhile in the UK neonicotinoid use has grown to the point where they are used on 1.2 million hectares of the British countryside.

Matt Shardlow, Buglife Chief Executive Officer said "Buglife has repeatedly raised concerns about the potential that these insecticides have to damage pollinators and the service they provide to us, but every time new bee damage evidence is published Government repeats that there is not enough proof to act. We believe that Government must stop their use now because there is no proof that neonicotinoids are environmentally safe".

"If we lose, bees, hoverflies, butterflies, mayflies and earthworms then wildflowers, garden flowers and fruits will dwindle and we will all suffer. This loss could cost UK farmers an estimated £510 million annually in crop yield, with the addition of alternative pollination methods costing a further £1.8 billion each year".

For years Buglife has been concerned that pesticide regulation is unable to identify which pesticides will damage populations of wild, non-target, invertebrates. Buglife is questioning the grounds on which Defra made the decision that ‘no change in the existing regulation of neonicotinoids is required' and considers that the decision is open to challenge by way of a judicial review.

Buglife believes that making the process for deciding what pesticides can be used in the countryside much more open and precautionary will better protect a wide range of wildlife.

No evidence that they are safe
To counter that scientific evidence of damage and impairment to honeybees in published papers Defra refers to unpublished and unavailable honeybees studies undertaken by pesticide companies (not bumblebee studies - such studies do not exist for non-honeybee pollinators). This use of these unpublished regulatory studies is rather undermined by the statement in the report from the Government's Advisory Committee on Pesticides that "the regulatory studies were not designed with detailed statistical analysis in mind, and their power to detect statistically significant changes is not established".

Wild bees have annual lifecycles and small reductions in breeding success could trigger population declines, the Defra report presents no evidence that neonicotinoid insecticides are not killing, disabling and impairing wild bees, thereby contributing to their disappearance from the countryside.

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

bees

we are told that the countryside is safe in the hands of the present imcumbents in westminster. from the hunting/shooting/snaring fraternity. they know what they are talking about dont they ? yet they are prepared to sabotage the health of these most important creatures for profit to farmers. please sign the petition. secure.38degrees.org.uk/bees-twitter. many thanks. bees need you !!

Posted by: dee donworth | 13 Nov 2012 17:24:40

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