Buglife are outraged at the news that the Government will be allowing the planting of oilseed rape seeds, treated with bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides this autumn. These toxic chemicals not only kill our essential pollinators such as bumblebees and honeybees, but also useful insects, such as ladybirds, which help keep crop pest numbers down.
Paul Hetherington, Buglife’s Fundraising and Communications Director said “Although the Government has only allowed these chemicals to be used on 5% of land grown for oilseed rape, it shows a blatant disregard for our wildlife and the rules that we have in place to protect the environment”.
The European Commission placed restrictions on the use of these pesticides back in 2013 as a result of extensive research which showed that they were harming bees and other pollinators. Since then, new scientific studies have only served to reinforce the ban.
Earlier in the year, the National Farmers Union had initially put in an application for neonic-treated oilseed rape seeds to be grown this year but on a larger scale, a request which was subsequently dismissed by the Government’s own Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP). The details for this initial refusal is unknown as the Government made the controversial decision to silence the ECP and prevent them from publishing the minutes of the meeting in which the decision was made Paul added “The last time the Conservatives stood for office, they said they were going to be the greenest Government ever. The outcome of this decision and the secrecy surrounding the process indicates otherwise”
Photo credit: Dead bumblebee (c) Mike Linksvayer