Today The Wildlife Trusts’ lawyers have contacted the Environment Secretary, George Eustice to question his decision to allow the emergency use of the banned neonicotinoid Thiamethoxam for sugar beet. The Wildlife Trusts believe the action may have been unlawful and The Wildlife Trusts are planning a legal challenge to the decision unless Government can prove otherwise.
In 2018 the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides refused a similar application because of unacceptable environmental risks.* The Wildlife Trusts contend that no new evidence has been provided to support the Government’s decision and therefore the ban should stay.
The move follows a petition from The Wildlife Trusts to MPs and the Prime Minister which has received tens of thousands of signatures. The petition was noted by Wirral West MP, Margaret Greenwood, during the debate on the Environment Bill on Tuesday who commented:
‘More than 50,000 people have signed The Wildlife Trusts’ petition urging the Prime Minister to overturn the Environment Secretary’s recent authorisation of the emergency use of a bee-killing pesticide for farmers to use on sugar beet crops in England. That shows the real strength of public feeling on this issue.’
Another supporter of the cause was Birkenhead MP, Mick Whitley, who added:
‘I know that I was not alone in being concerned by the Environment Secretary’s decision to temporarily lift the ban on bee-killing pesticides. That decision flies in the face of the Government’s own commitment to fight biodiversity loss and was made without consulting Parliament. Of course we all sympathise with farmers who are currently wrestling with crop blight, but those pesticides pose an existential threat to bee populations and other pollinator species, which play such a vital role in pollinating 70% of the crops we eat. I do not think it is hyperbolic to say that our future depends on bees.’
James Melling from Cheshire Wildlife Trust welcomed the comments from both MPs and added:
‘We want to thank our two Wirral MPs for speaking out on this issue. Our campaign has attracted huge swathes of support across the county and it is fantastic to see our local political leaders responding to these concerns. I hope these actions and the support of the public will go some way in urging a much needed u-turn on this extremely concerning issue.
We now await to see what the outcome of the legal challenge from our national team achieves. Hopefully it will be the result that our bees and wildlife so desperately need.’
The public can continue adding their support to the petition: