29 May 2015 | Online since 2003



Accept neonicotinoid ban, Defra warned


The government's draft National Pollinator Strategy needs to be transparent if it is to command public confidence, the Environmental Audit Committee has warned.

Chair of the Committee, Joan Walley MP, said: "When it comes to research on pesticides, Defra is content to let the manufacturers fund the work. This testifies to a loss of environmental protection capacity in the Department responsible for it. If the research is to command public confidence, independent controls need to be maintained at every step. Unlike other research funded by pesticide companies, these studies also need to be peer-reviewed and published in full."

The Environmental Audit Committee has examined the draft National Pollinator Strategy released for consultation in March 2014. The goal of the Strategy is to safeguard pollinators and their essential role in ecosystems. To that end, it incorporates a programme of research to address the ‘patchy’ evidence picture on what affects pollinator numbers.

Joan Walley MP added: "The Government’s planned national pollinator monitoring framework will help provide a baseline picture as a starting point for new pollinator-friendly action. I’m pleased to see that the Strategy encourages the public to get involved. That will be the best way of ensuring politicians don’t lose momentum in this vitally important area."

In their response to the Committee’s 2013 Pollinators and Pesticides report, the Government stated that the evidence picture on what affects pollinators was not clear. The Committee concluded in 2013 that existing evidence was of sufficient concern to warrant a ban on three neonicotinoid pesticides. The Government disagreed, but the ban was adopted by the EU.

Joan Walley MP said: "Defra should use the final National Pollinator Strategy to draw a line under the European neonicotinoid ban. It should make clear that it now accepts the ban and will not seek to overturn it when the European Commission conducts a review next year."

She added: "Syngenta has recently filed an application for emergency use of pesticides banned by the European Commission. The application has been withdrawn, but the Government should make clear that it would have turned it down in any case, and that no such applications will be accepted in future."

Implementing the Strategy: Common Agricultural Policy

In the Pollinator and Pesticides report, the Committee recommended that the Government use CAP reform to introduce incentives for pollinator-friendly actions. But the way the CAP schemes have been rolled out in England means that this opportunity has not been fully grasped.

Joan Walley MP said: "The way Defra has chosen to implement environmental schemes under the CAP does not put the focus on pollinators.These need to be looked at again. The Government should ensure that pollinators are the focus of the upcoming European Commission review of the CAP measures."

Decline in pollinator numbers across the UK has long been a cause of concern. A number of factors—including habitat loss, climate change, parasites and use of pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids—are thought to have adverse impact on pollinators.

In April 2013, the Environmental Audit Committee published a report on Pollinators and Pesticides, recommending that, in accordance with the precautionary principle, the Government immediately ban the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides — clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam. The Government rejected that recommendation, arguing that available studies did not produce “unequivocal evidence that … serious implications for colonies are likely to arise from current uses of neonicotinoids”. The European Food Safety Authority’s risk assessment of the three neonicotinoids resulted in the European Commission banning their use on crops attractive to bees. The ban came into effect in December 2013 and is due to be reviewed in 2015.

In their response to the Pollinators and Pesticides report, the Government announced that it would convene a group of experts to assess available evidence on pollinator declines.

That review would later form the basis for a new National Pollinator Strategy, whose goal would be to bring together all action aiming at supporting pollinators. The draft Strategy was released for consultation in March 2014; the final version will be published later this autumn, followed by a detailed delivery plan six months later. The Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry was conducted with the aim of feeding into the final version of the Strategy. The Committee examined plans for further research put forward by the Strategy and the ways in which it would be implemented.

Download




Comments


28-07-2014 10:03 AM | Posted by: John Evans
How outrageous that Defra should rely on the research of a manufacturer,such as Syngenta,to determine whether it is safe to use a product in the environment when there is so much evidence as to its harm.
I fully support Joan Walley's initiative and hope the UK Government comes to its senses and frees itself of big business domination.

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


13 July 2015
Job for Main Tractor Driver>>>Saffron Walden<<<
To join a small team on 400 ha farm as main tractor driver /driving a brand new JD7285 auto- power tractor with GPS/ main dut...

14 July 2015
Job for Harvest / Autumn helper required to join our team on an arable farm >>> Suffolk <<<
Harvest / Autumn helper required to join our team on a 1200 ha arable farm just north of Ipswich, starting July to end of Sep...

15 May 2015
Job for a Tractor driver near Swindon
Contractor looking for experienced tractor driver, for operations in, grass silage making, baling and wrapping, maize silage ...

29 May 2015
Sales Manager
SALES MANAGER - Ruminant.

De Lacy Executive has a great opportunity for an experienced sales person to join a well-establish...

29 May 2015
Junior Category Manager
An exciting new career opportunity has arisen for a Junior Category Manager to join a leading supplier of products and servic...



Top stories you may have missed
15 May 2015 | Arable

Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead is calling on the Europ...


15 May 2015 | Finance

As the country settles down following the turmoil of the general election, ...


14 May 2015 | Animal Health

New research from the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge has found that ...


13 May 2015 | Animal Health

A new publication to help farmers prevent sheep lameness and offer advice o...


12 May 2015 | Agri Safety

The Farmers’ Union of Wales is putting the spotlight on Liver fluke at next...


5 May 2015 | News

The UK is now third in the global rankings for utility-scale solar energy a...


29 April 2015 | Agri Safety

A recent Rural Watch demonstration and information event gave Farmers’ Unio...


24 April 2015 | Meat Processing

Retailers should confirm their commitments to sourcing UK lamb this season,...


15 April 2015 | Meat Processing

A leading retailer has apologised after selling imported lamb in a Borders ...


9 April 2015 | Finance

The time has come for landlords to expect to see reductions in farm rents, ...