Bee-harming pesticides will be totally banned in the UK, Michael Gove says
Politics aside (If only!) and whether you love him or hate Mr. Gove (I could not possibly comment), at first glance a complete ban on neonicotinoids appears the answer, however! I urge caution (and I’m a Beekeeper!)
Neonics are not the single cause of alleged honeybee demise, they are ‘part’ of the challenges that honeybees and other insect pollinators face, but neonicotinoids are most certainly not the root cause.
Do exercise your good judgment, to ensure this is not simply a political hitching to the proverbial wagon, to gain public approval.
As humans we are the most creative and yet most destructive species on the planet, it is in our nature.
In the case of insect pollination, there is too much proof that neonicotinoids do harm AND as much evidence it does not cause harm, indeed wherever there big business, and we are talking £billions globally folks, then the truth is often the first casualty!
It is a needless waste of time to simply focus on neonicotinoids and ban them, they do have their place given the need to feed an artificially large population (Articiallialy large, compared to a food production capacity in-country/population ratio).
If not neonicotinoids, then we must have something else to improve yields. Why?
Because if not, food will become less readily available and incredibly expensive.
Remember the restaurants serving seasonal veggies, now we get everything we could possibly want to eat, all year round, generations now see this as a given right.
If neonicotinoids are banned with no safe substitute found to replace them, food production will drop, how long will it then be before we are pleading to bring them back, and to hell with the consequences?
Even as an avid beekeeper working with corporates to integrate honeybees into biodiversity and CSR programs, I see the downside to what initially appears a great thing!
We simply need to balance the books not kneejerk react our way to a long-term mistake!
Be careful what you wish for!
A total ban on bee-harming pesticides being used across Europe will be supported by the UK, the Environment Secretary has said. In a reversal of the Government’s previous position on neonicotinoid pesticides, Michael Gove said new evidence indicated the risk to bees and other insects was “greater than previously understood”.
In 2013, the European Commission proposed a ban on three neonicotinoids for use on flowering crops such as oilseed rape, which are attractive to bees, after authorities identified risks to honey bees.
The UK Government opposed the ban, claiming there was not enough evidence that bees were harmed by the pesticides, but other member states disagreed and the ban was implemented across the EU.
Writing in the Guardian, Mr Gove said he believed the evidence base had “grown”, and the UK would back a new proposal by the European Commission to extend the ban to non-flowering crops.
He said: “While there is still uncertainty in the science, it is increasingly pointing in one direction.
“Not to act would be to risk continuing down a course which could have extensive and permanent effects on bee populations.
“That is not a risk I am prepared to take, so the UK will be supporting further restrictions on neonicotinoids. Unless the evidence base changes again, the Government will keep these restrictions in place after we have left the EU.”
Mr Gove said he was “deeply concerned” by a recent study into the health of some insect populations, which revealed 75 per cent of flying insects in Germany had disappeared.
At a glance | How to help bees in winter
- Plant flowers, shrubs and trees that thrive in winter. The evergreen mahonia is excellent winter food for bees, while the pendant bells of winter flowering clematis can give pollinators a sugary energy boost. Ivy plants are also an ideal source of food for bees in late autumn – avoid cutting them down.
- Leave suitable places for hibernation undisturbed. Letting areas of a lawn grow long until the spring can provide a hibernation home while cool, north-facing banks are ideal places for bees to burrow. The hollow tubes of dead stems of plants in borders can also serve as a great nesting spot.
- Plant early flowering bulbs like crocus, primrose, snowdrop of coltsfoot that flower in February and March to help support bees and pollinators looking for an early feed. Winter is also the perfect time to plant bee-friendly trees, such as acacia, blackthorn and hazel.
Source: Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs
Curated from: The Telegraph