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Will banned bee-killing pesticides become the new norm? - The Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts’ lawyers contact the Secretary of State to question the legality of ignoring expert advice

dead bumblebee
(Image: Nikki Kaminga / Pixabay)

On Tuesday 1st March the Government will decide whether the threshold has been met to allow the use of a banned neonicotinoid, thiamethoxam.

In January, the Secretary of State for the Environment, George Eustice, granted an application by the NFU and British Sugar for emergency authorisation of thiamethoxam for the treatment of sugar beet seed in 2022. It was granted for the second year running “in recognition of the potential danger posed to the 2022 crop from beet yellows virus” – despite the pesticide being banned in 2018 due to unacceptable risks to the environment, particularly to bees.

The decision to authorise thiamethoxam this year goes against the recommendation of the Government’s own advisors, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) – they both state that they cannot support the authorisation of the banned neonicotinoid pesticide.

This week, The Wildlife Trusts’ lawyers, Leigh Day, wrote to the Secretary of State, George Eustice citing explicit advice from the Government’s own appointed experts – and revealing contradictions in Government decision-making.

The Wildlife Trusts have requested a response to their legal letter by Friday 18th February 2022.

Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says: “We’re faced with the shocking prospect that bee-killing pesticides will become the new norm with bans lifted every year. We need to know what plans the Government has for avoiding the use of a product that’s so harmful to pollinators, rivers and people. Why isn’t the Government listening to its own expert advisors? In the recent Westminster debate on the issue, this was the question many MPs asked – and yet the Government was unable to respond coherently. "

A coalition of charities including The Wildlife Trusts, Friends of the Earth, RSPB and Pesticide Action Network – reacted to last month’s announcement


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Posted On: 11/02/2022

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