Friday, 5 April 2013

Bee un-happy

When the time came to step up and do the decent thing our Government chose not to follow the evidence and protect bees. Disappointing, but then you don't expect much in the way of common sense from the Palace of Westminster, do you? 
But it's nice to see that a Select Committee can look at a problem and see it for what it is. The Environmental Audit Committee has been looking at the impact of pesticide use on bees and other pollinating insects (read its report here) and says: “Defra seems to be taking an extraordinarily complacent approach  to protecting bees given the vital free service that pollinators provide to our economy."
Just as it took an extraordinarily complacent approach to the threat of imported tree diseases. After doing nothing for years it now has the huge problem of ash dieback to deal with.
The committee, with members from all parties, says a "growing body of peer-reviewed research" suggests that the use of one group of insecticides, neonicotinoids,  is having an especially damaging impact on pollinators. Neonicotinoids are put on crops like oilseed rape, maize and sugar beet as well as being sold for garden use, so there's a lot of the stuff around.
The MPs want an immediate moratorium on use of neonicotinoids until the science can show for sure whether they are harmful or not, which seems sensible. The committee's chairman says "there is no justification for people continuing to use these products on their Dahlias when they could be having a detrimental effect on pollinator populations".


  1. As a beekeeper I'm following this issue very closely. I'm frustrated with the UK Govt; it seems obvious to me that the "precautionary principle" should be applied and these insecticides should be banned.

  2. It does seem obvious, you're right Wendy. The German government has decided to be on the safe side, but as ever Whitehall dithers.