Neonicotinoid pesticide will not be used in England in 2021
In 2018 EU members banned the use of most neonicotinoids on outdoor crops as a result of growing evidence of the severe impact the pesticides have on the survival of bees, as well as other pollinators. However, the UK and nine other countries decided to continue to allow emergency use of the chemicals.
Earlier this year the government gave authorisation for the emergency use of neonicotinoid thiamethoxam on England’s sugar beet fields to help save crops from virus-transmitting aphids. However, a U-turn was made when it was decided that the benefits of using thiamethoxam would not be great enough to justify the use; cold spring weather had already made a significant dent in aphid populations.
While the government and Defra defend the original decision, environmental organisations are calling for a total ban on neonicotinoids. Chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, Dr Doug Parr stated “Agriculture is completely dependent on the support of ecosystems which agrichemicals are eroding, and maintaining our ability to feed ourselves requires the government to set an ambitious national pesticide reduction target and support farmers in switching to sustainable alternatives”.
Image by stanze