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The government has gagged its own pesticide advisers, after they refused to back an application by the National Farmers Union to lift a ban on bee-harming chemicals. The gag is intended to prevent campaigners lobbying ministers on the issue, according to documents seen by the Guardian.
Neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used insecticide, were banned in the European Union in 2013. Substantial scientific evidence indicates that the nerve agents cause serious harm to bees, whose pollination is vital for many crops.
The National Farmers Union says oil seed rape is becoming impossible to grow without the pesticides and applied for an emergency lifting of the ban on two neonicotinoids.
The NFU told the Guardian the Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP), part of the Health and Safety Executive, refused to back its request. Ministers said the final decision had yet to be made, but on Thursday the NFU submitted new applications targeting smaller areas of the country.
As well as the ECP’s meeting minutes, the NFU’s application forms have also been kept secret, despite requests from MPs for their publication. The farming minister, George Eustice said the information in the applications was commercially sensitive.
The government has temporarily lifted a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in certain parts of the country.
An EU-wide moratorium was put in place after some studies showed the pesticide caused significant harm to bees.
But following a second emergency application by the National Farmers Union, two neonicotinoid pesticides can now be used for 120 days on about 5% of England's oilseed rape crop.
Environmental and wildlife groups have called the decision "scandalous".
Those are my sort of thoughts as well.
originally posted by: FyreByrd
Why the secrecy I can only speculate. Maybe to keep the extortionary tactics of Big Chemical/Agriculture out of the press. Maybe to hid evidence about just how distructive these insecticides (and the resistance pests it creates) can be to crops.
So why did the government gag it's own scientific advisors?
The big unanswered question remains whether the harmful impacts observed in studies based on artificially dosing bees, occur in real-life field situations and cause the population declines we are all so concerned about.
A Swedish study earlier this year did find harmful impacts on wild bees (but not honeybees) in real fields, but does this mean neonicotinoids are causing widespread declines in bee populations? or does it just mean that insecticide-treated fields can be inhospitable places for insects? We still don’t know.
At least we know where this 'experiment' will be carried out now, so I hope it will include attempts to record any effects on the bee populations in those counties.
Further to the NFU securing the emergency use of enough neonicotinoid seed treatments from the Chemical Regulation Directorate to treat five per cent of the oilseed rape crop in England (around 30,000ha) we understand the following information:
The authorisation from the CRD requires treated seed distribution to be targeted to areas of highest risk. This means that farms in four counties will have access to neonicotinoid seed treatment products under the emergency use authorisation. They are Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. Last year there was approximately 90,000 Ha of oilseed rape grown in these four counties.
originally posted by: grainofsand
a reply to: VoidHawk
Write to: LizTruss, Environment Secretary, Defra, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3JR
Yep, petitions and emails to MP's
The UK government this week temporarily lifted a ban on controversial pesticides linked to widespread harm to bees and other insects—a move which one environmental group said "shows a blatant disregard for our wildlife."