JAN 31, 2013: There are calls for the Government to introduce a national bee action plan in the wake of new advice about the danger they face from the world’s most widely used insecticide.
A neonicotinoid pesticide has for the first time been officially labelled an ‘unacceptable’ danger to bees. Environmental campaigners say the conclusion, by Europe’s leading food safety authority, sounds the ‘death knell’ for the insect nerve agent. The chemical’s manufacturer, Bayer, claimed the report, released on Wednesday, did not alter existing risk assessments. The report comes just months after the UK Government dismissed a fast-growing body of evidence of harm to bees as insufficient to justify banning the chemicals. Bees and other pollinators are critical to one-third of all food, but two major studies in March 2012, and others since, have implicated neonicotinoid pesticides in the decline in the insects, alongside habitat loss and disease. CS bees writer Jules Moore said: “Thank goodness a report has finally come out which has persuaded the Government to sit up and take notice of what beekeepers have been saying for ages – that neonicotinoids represent a real danger to the well-being of the honeybee. Countries in Europe have banned this chemical for some time now and, as usual, the UK lags behind.” B&Q and Wickes, two of the best known names in garden centres and DIY, now say they will remove products containing neonicotinoids. The UK Govermnent’s advisory committee on pesticides is urgently examining the new evidence with a view to announcing possible changes. Friends of the Earth called for a ‘National Bee Action Plan’.