It seems to us here at the Land Workers Alliance that “the pesticide industry, are managing to get a foot in the back door. This is neither politically sound nor environmentally ethical. The proof to say that the emergency use of neonicotinoids is safe is simply non existent and therefore it seems that our government is more concerned about keeping voters from the pressure groups by putting the economical issues facing them above saving the bees, which will eventually effect us all.” Tasha Elena Tucker- Vallecillo, Land Workers Alliance and Bee Keeper, Somerset
At the end of July the government re-instated the use of Neonicotinoids on the British fields despite no new evidence to say that the use of these pesticides is safe. This decision came without prior warning to the National Bee Keepers Association who had not been made aware that the issue was even under discussion. The group have expressed to Defra its dissatisfaction about the lack of communication.
The leading study on the chemicals was compiled by Fera in 2013, the author of which left the agency just months after its publication to work for Syngenta – a major producer of neonicotinoids. This gave the impression that the government had been working too closely with the chemical industry.
Friends of the Earth are threatening to take legal action over the issue of reinstatement and have accused Defra and the Health and Safety Executive of failing to publish sufficient evidence explaining why permission is justified. The Soil Association believe that there is already enough evidence to justify an immediate and permanent ban on neonicotinoids today.
The start date of the withdrawal, Dec 1st 2013 was put in place by the EU commission after colony collapse came into the public eye and a report by the European Food Safety Agency in January concluded that the pesticides posed a “high acute risk” to pollinators, including honeybees. This EU suspension of the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiomethoxam and its professional use on crops attractive to bees included oil seed rape, maize and cereals, excluding the treatment of winter cereal crops.
Despite the re-instatement is for “emergency use” of the chemicals, which most, agree are harmful to bees (including Professor Dave Goulson; the products will go under review again after a large scale trial undertaken by the Ecology of Hydrology releases its findings, possibly as early as the Autumn of 2015.