Neonicotinoids are banned across Europe over concerns that they kill bees and other pollinators.
In 2017, the UK Government supported restrictions on the neonicotinoid pesticides across the European Union. The Environment Secretary at the time, Michael Gove, gave a commitment to maintain these restrictions post-Brexit unless the scientific evidence changed. We're therefore alarmed to learn the Government has agreed the use of a highly damaging pesticide - neonicotinoid thiamethoxam - for the treatment of sugar beet seed in response to beet yellows virus.
We believe there needs to be a significant reduction in the use of pesticides, particularly insecticides with this level of effect. Insects perform vital roles such as pollination of crops and wildflowers, and nutrient recycling, but so many have suffered drastic declines. Evidence suggests a loss of at least 50% of insects since 1970, and 41% of all insect species are now 'threatened with extinction'.
Chief Executive of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Rachael Bice said:
“There is growing evidence of the devastating impact that this group of pesticides has on our wildlife. Over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of people across Britain called for these toxic pesticides to be banned. Reversing this ban is an alarming move which will destroy the species we all depend on for the health of our natural world.
As public awareness of the ecological crisis grows and insect populations plummet, we need urgent action to reverse their decline. To allow them to thrive once more, we need to reduce the use of pesticides and start to build a nature recovery network by creating more and better connected, insect-friendly habitat. We want to work alongside farmers to find solutions to these challenges, which are only going to increase due to the ecological and climate crisis."