Government Challenged to Use Peer Reviewed Science in Neonicotinoid Debate

The Bee Coalition has produced an excellent briefing document for MPs attending the National Pollinator Strategy (NPS) debate, scheduled for 16 October 2014. Some of the recommendations are designed to end the decades repeating problem of agricultural chemicals damaging the environment and our health.

The key recommendations:

  • The NPS should confirm the UK's acceptance of neonicotinoid research, the Government's acceptance of the ban and a commitment to fully implement, enforce and monitor it.
  • The Government must establish a rigorous monitoring programme to ascertain the effects of the ban for both wildlife and farming.
  • Decisions on neonicotinoids should be informed by independent, peer-reviewed and non-commercially driven research.
  • Research that is funded by pesticide manufacturers must be designed, conducted and reported independently; once completed, the results must be peer-reviewed and published in full without delay.
  • The ban must be extended: Two years is not long enough to investigate the impact of a ban given that there is no baseline data, monitoring effects are inadequate or absent and neonicotinoids persist in the environment.

Many farmers have complained bitterly about the neonicotinoid ban, particularly for rape oilseed. High commodity prices and targeted support from the CAP make rape oilseed a very lucrative break-crop. From virtually nothing in the 70's, around 400,000 hectares of oilseed rape are now grown in the UK. Contrary HGCA recommendations, the proportion of the English oilseed rape crop grown after a break of four or more years has declined from 90% at the end of the 1980s to less than 50%.  The result is poor crop yields prone to disease and pests, propped up by a cocktail of over 22 chemicals.

I wonder, do we now need a Geneva Protocol to protect us from chemical warfare used in food production?

Excellent Link: Are crops being devastated without neonicotinoid protection? - By David Goulston

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