Buglife were disappointed that last night MPs voted against bees and other pollinators by not including Clause 75 in the Environment Bill.
Despite a petition of 65,000 signatures handed to the Secretary of State for the Environment, MPs voted 297 to 182 against the House of Lords amendment on protecting pollinators against pesticides. The amendment would have ensured assessments on the long-term effects of pesticides on honey-bees and wild pollinators took place before approving pesticide use. It would include a need to consider the risks of a cocktail of chemicals on pollinators.
Over 4,000 members of the public wrote to their MPs asking them to Vote for Bees, many of whom spoke in favour of pollinators with Luke Pollard MP, the Shadow Environment Minister saying, “I bloody love bees”. A key focus of supportive MPs was the lack of transparency in the current process and the gap presented by the absence of consideration for long term impacts. Many MPs stated that existing efforts on pesticides simply do not go far enough.
The Government rejected further amendments from the House of Lords that would have strengthened the environment bill. These amendments would have included greater protection for soils, water quality, habitat regulations, and a credible environmental watchdog. It is disappointing that the Government is not taking the opportunity to show environmental leadership by including the strengthening amendments from the House of Lords.
Next week the Environment Bill will return to the Lords where we urge Peers uphold their original decision to protect pollinators and challenge the government to concede on this issue and many others that will truly protect pollinators and the wider environment.