Tuesday, 16 April 2013

UK Parliamentary committee recommends suspension of toxic insecticides

France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia have suspended various neonicotinoid insecticides. Meanwhile in the UK neonicotinoid use has grown to the point where they are used on 1.2 million hectares of the British countryside.

Call to suspend the use of three of the major neonicotinoids
April 2013. The UK Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), comprised of MPs from all the main parties, have released their findings from a four month inquiry into neonicotinoids, a group of insecticides linked to detrimental toxic effects on wildlife.

Suspend use of three of the major neonicotinoids
The Committee makes several robust recommendations including, most significantly, a suspension on three of the major neonicotinoids, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin in the UK and for the UK to support a similar proposal at a European level. The Committee expresses deep concern about the highly secretive nature of pesticide regulation and calls for data on the environmental safety of pesticides to be made public.

The report has been broadly welcomed by Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust which have been campaigning for a ban for many years since producing a report in 2009 which raised concerns about the impact of neonicotinoids on wild pollinators.

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers, Buglife's Pesticides Officer said "We are extremely impressed at the robust stance that the Environmental Audit Committee has taken. The recommendations are in keeping with the overwhelming scientific evidence that neonicotinoids are having an adverse effect on honeybees and other wild pollinators. The EAC report is clear that there is now enough evidence to act immediately. This is a stark contrast to Defra's current stance that further studies are required before action can be taken".

Wild pollinator monitoring programme
In addition, the EAC has highlighted the urgent need for a wild pollinator monitoring programme, as a way of adequately informing policy making. Current data shows that roughly two-thirds of the species of pollinator such as bumblebees, hoverflies and moths are declining but without more detailed knowledge of the changes in abundance of different pollinators and an understanding of how this relates to crop and wildflower pollination rates it is impossible to properly protect pollinators, which are worth at least £510 million per year to the UK.

Vanessa said "Without a pollinator monitoring programme, we depend on ad hoc records and schemes covering moths and butterflies to understand the problem of bee and pollinator decline. A monitoring programme will show us where pollinators, and other wildlife, need our help the most. We urge Defra to act on the findings of the EAC inquiry and implement the recommendations which will be an important step towards helping these wonderful insects".

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