|Bee Coalition welcomes MPs’ report examining weak National Pollinator Strategy|
Members of the Bee Coalition today welcome the report by MPs on the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) into the Government’s draft National Pollinator Strategy (NPS) which is especially critical of the Government inaction on pesticides increasingly linked to bee and pollinator decline.
On pesticides and bee health the MPs say that “New studies have added weight to those that indicated a harmful link between pesticide use and pollinator populations” (paragraph 6, page 7).
The MPs call on the Government to “make it clear that the UK accepts the European risk assessment underpinning the ban, that it supports the ban and will not seek to end it when the European review is possible in 2015, or otherwise, circumvent it” (paragraph 39, page 22).
The MPs add that if the Government insists on relying on company-funded testing of pesticides, that it must ensure that “the design of the studies and how they are undertaken and reported is independent of its paymasters, and is transparent” (paragraph 23, page 15).
On farming’s role in reversing bee decline, MPs point to the importance of “ensuring agriculture plays a full part in protecting pollinators” and that the Government must “justify its logic of the predominantly voluntary approach” given to farming in the draft National Pollinator Strategy (paragraph 38, page 21).
Matt Shardlow of Buglife, a member of the Bee Coalition who gave evidence to the EAC, said:
“This MP’s report is spot on. Buglife supports the strong words on neonicotinoids and the application of the precautionary principle. Also of great significance is the EAC’s recognition that the strategy should extend to all Government departments and not just policies under the Defra banner. We wholeheartedly endorse this report and urge that the National Pollinator Strategy takes account of the recommendations.”
Sandra Bell of Friends of the Earth, a member of the Bee Coalition who gave evidence to the EAC, said:
“Britain needs a good plan to reverse bee and pollinator decline. MPs have found the Government’s draft plan to be sub-standard, weak on reducing pesticide use and on helping farming to play a full role in helping bees.”
Peter Melchett, Soil Association Policy Director, said:
“The Soil Association warmly welcomes the Environmental Audit Committee’s latest report. We agree that the Government should draw a line under the ban on neonicotinoids and instead ensure that lower and no pesticide farming systems are supported through the National Pollinator Strategy. Scientific research proves that organic farming has huge benefits for pollinators. A recent meta-analysis from Oxford University found on average that organic farms have 49% more species of pollinators than non-organic farms.”
28 July 2014