Apr 26 2013

Telegraph: UK Governement refuses to support ban on neonicotinoids despite protests

Newswire | Published 26 Apr 2013, 8:22 am | Comments Off on Telegraph: UK Governement refuses to support ban on neonicotinoids despite protests -

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Environment groups want the UK Government to back a proposal in Brussels on Monday to ban certain uses of neonicotinoids.

Yesterday (Friday) around 250 people descended on Parliament Square for “The March of the Beekeepers” calling for a ban.

Fashion designers Katherine Hamnett and Vivienne Westwood handed in a Petition at No.10 with 300,000 signatures calling on the Government to back the EU proposals.

But despite the public outcry Sir Mark Walport, the Government’s new chief scientific adviser insisted that a ban is not the best way forward for Britain.

The National Farmers Union estimate that banning neonicotinoids could cost the UK economy £630m every year because of the loss in yield of crops like oilseed rape.

In one of his first statements in post, Sir Mark explained that a ban would mean using more old fashioned pesticides that are not only more expensive but could be more damaging to wildlife.

“People considering a ban must look at the impact of a moratorium on the challenge of feeding a growing global population with a changing climate. They should also consider the economic cost of severe reductions in yields to struggling European farmers and economies,” he wrote in the Financial Times.

Neonicotinoids are “systemic” pesticides meaning the insecticide is absorbed by the plant. It replaces pesticides that were sprayed on the crop and would cover all plants as well as falling on soil.

Tim Lovett, director of public affairs at the British Beekeepers Association, agreed that a ban could make the situation worse for bees.

He said old fashioned pesticides can kill bees and called for more research into alternatives.

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