U.K. government lifts ban on neonicotinoid pesticides

Posted Jul 23, 2015 by Tim Sandle
Despite restrictions throughout Europe, and parts of Canada, the U.K. Conservative government has lifted the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in certain parts of the country. This has raised concerns about the plight of bees.
California High Desert Honey Bees Immersed in Yellow beavertail Cactus Pollen.
California High Desert Honey Bees Immersed in Yellow beavertail Cactus Pollen.
Jessie Eastland aka Robert DeMeo
Neonicotinoid pesticides (or neonics) are a type of neuro-active insecticides similar in chemical structure to nicotine. The chemicals are used as pesticides to protect specific crops from harmful aphids. The problem with their use is that evidence has been growing, since the mid-2000s, about neonics posing a risk to bees. That neonicotinoids can cause harm to bees is clearly stated in a report by Europe's 29 academies of sciences. Furthermore, Digital Journal has reported that neonicotinoids could be the cause of a loss in bird populations.
Those concerned about the effects of neonicotinoids on bees state that maintaining bee populations is of ecological and economic importance. Honeybees and bumblebees, through pollination, contribute millions of dollars in agricultural crop values. In addition, the honey industry is dependent upon the health of bee populations.
The change in U.K. policy follows the election of the Conservative Party in May. The trigger comes from an application by the National Farmers Union. This means, the BBC reports, that two types of neonicotinoid pesticides can be used for 120 days for selected fields growing oilseed rape crop in England.
Commenting on the u-turn, Friends of the Earth spokesperson Paul de Zylva stated: "It's scandalous that the government has caved in to NFU pressure and given permission for some farmers to use banned pesticides that have been shown to harm our precious bees."
In related news, taking an opposite stance, Regulation 63/09 has been passed in Ontario to phase out the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.