Brexit began with a shortsighted approach to not only business but green policy. The government has reversed a ban on the pesticide neonicotinoid a toxin proven to enforce colony collapse amongst bees.
Chairman of the National Farmers Union sugar board Michael Sly said “I am relieved that our application for emergency use of a neonicotinoid seed treatment for the 2021 sugar beet crop has been granted. Any treatment will be used in a limited and controlled way on sugar beet – a non-flowering crop – and only when the scientific threshold has been independently judged to have been met.”
Though this decision will have far worse consequences for not only farmers but biodiversity. Mr Sly failed to make any mention of the harm neonicotinoid will do to bees. The pesticide has been proven to force bees to abandon their hives during winter leading to eventual death.
Chief Executive of Buglife Matt Sharlow said of the decision: “
“We are very upset, this is an environmentally regressive decision by Defra. Destroying wildflowers in the countryside to prevent them transferring insecticides to bees is obviously beyond the pale”…“In addition no action is proposed to prevent the pollution of rivers with insecticides applied to sugar beet.”
The government banned neonicotinoid in 2013 in line with EU protocol. This reversal shows a lack of foresight of the protection of British biodiversity and is a far cry from words written by Michael Gove in the Guardian regarding its toxicity.
“Nothing has changed scientifically since the decision to ban neonics from use on sugar beet in 2018. They are still going to harm the environment. The new question is how will increased use of herbicides on field margins and hedgerows add to the onslaught being experienced by insect populations.”
A petition to ban neonicotinoid was published yesterday.