Honey bee by Peter Dent

Banned pesticide gets green light

Wednesday 02 March, 2022

Tuesday 1 March saw the green light given to use a banned pesticide, contradicting Government promises to protect and improve nature.

The Government has decided the threshold has been met to allow the use of a banned chemical on sugar beet crops to combat a potential virus. The Wildlife Trusts are appalled the Government is permitting the use of the highly toxic pesticide, thiamethoxam, given that it was banned in 2018 due to unacceptable risks to the environment, especially to bees and other pollinators.

The decision to authorise the use of thiamethoxam goes against recommendations from the Government's advisors, the Health and Safety Executive and the Expert Committee on Pesticides. Both state they cannot support the authorisation.

Eliot Lyne, Norfolk Wildlife Trust CEO, said: "The news that the Government have today gone against their own scientific advisors in lifting the ban on the use of this bee-killing pesticide could be disastrous for Norfolk's nature.

"Just one teaspoon of thiamexthoxam is enough to kill 1.25 billion bees. Even minute traces of these toxic chemicals in crop pollen or wildflowers play havoc with bees' ability to forage and navigate, with catastrophic consequences for the survival of their colony.

"This decision is in stark contrast to the Government's policy around championing nature recovery through the Environment Act. Allowing neonicotinoid use will harm nature and could further pollute our rivers.

"Every effort should be made to find alternative methods of pest control that don't result in this level of damage to our wildlife, and in Norfolk where sugar beet is a major part of farming, it is vital that we find ways for farming and nature to co-exist to their mutual benefit.

"The urgent need to address biodiversity loss requires us to work at a landscape scale and in partnership with farmers by creating more, and better connected, wildlife-friendly habitat. Decisions such as these hamper this vital work - all of our decisions, from our Governments to our gardens, need to be joined up."

Further details can be found on The Wildlife Trusts website.

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