PAN UK and EJF commend the Parliamentary report on bee toxic pesticides PDF Print E-mail

Save the Bees logoPesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) and the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) applaud today’s report by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee which calls for the UK Government to implement a moratorium on the use of certain types of neonicotinoid pesticides on crops attractive to bees, and to support such a proposal in the EU. 


EJF and PAN UK also credit the report’s wide ranging and significant recommendations for improving the process by which Defra assesses the risks of pesticides, the implementation of measures to support bees and other pollinators, and a move away from excessive use of chemical pesticides in favour of sustainable forms of pest management. In particular, these organisations which are jointly campaigning to protect the UK’s bees and pollinators, are encouraged by the report’s over-arching conclusion that neonicotinoid pesticides are not fundamental to the general economic or agricultural viability of UK farming.


The report is highly critical of the way the UK Government has implemented the new EU Directive on the Sustainable Use of Pesticides. EJF and PAN UK echo the sentiment that the UK has failed to take steps that would benefit human health and the environment by adopting measures that would reduce pesticide use in the new National Action Plan on pesticides.


The report’s recommendations chime with the calls of the joint EJF and PAN UK Save the Bees campaign for a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides and for Government support for the adoption of pollinator-friendly farming practices and the restoration of bee habitats. Our campaign continues, and we hope today’s report will help in persuading Defra to take action to protect our bees and our agricultural ecosystems, and to support the proposed EU moratorium on neonicotinoids on crops attractive to bees. 


Keith Tyrell, PAN UK Director, said:


“Today’s report is a damning indictment of Defra, who have hitherto chosen to bury their head in the sand when it comes to neonicotinoids and bees. The scientific case for a ban on neonicotinoids and the promotion of alternative and sustainable methods of pest control in UK agriculture is irresistible.” 


“Having had opportunity to review all the available science, the Committee concluded what we have been saying all along, which is that neonicotinoid pesticides are not fundamental to the general economic or agricultural viability of UK farming. We hope, therefore, that Defra will now see sense and will do what is right for the bees and what is right for the well-being of UK farming.”


Steve Trent, EJF Executive Director, said:

“The scientific evidence of the impacts of neonicotinoids was already overwhelming, but this new report by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee is also a powerful critique of Defra’s interpretation of the precautionary principle for economic rather than environmental protection. The report finds that Defra’s preoccupation with economics still missed the significant economic value of insect pollinators to UK agriculture. Up to now, the UK Government has failed to support a ban on neonicotinoids, despite France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands all voting in favour of a ban. They have cited lack of evidence as a reason to abstain. I sincerely hope today’s report will put a stop to Defra’s excuses. They can and must defend bees, other insect pollinators and their natural ecosystems, in order to safeguard UK agriculture and our food security.”
4 April 2013
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