A pesticide known to kill bees has been authorised for farmers to use on sugar beet crops in England. The deadly neonicotinoid (or neonic), thiamethoxam, was banned EU-wide in 2018 because of the wide-spread harm it causes.
We are shocked that the Secretary of State, George Eustice, has used his power to allow this.
The decision to allow emergency use of thiamethoxam goes against all commitments this Government has made to help nature – including an explicit pledge to keep pesticide restrictions after Brexit. It invalidates pledges around nature’s recovery made less than six months ago. And it crushes the Government’s stated vision for tackling the biodiversity crisis.
Even worse, the authorisation involveskilling wildflowers that grow alongside the sugar beet by adding weedkiller – on the basis that this will ‘protect’ bees from beneficial ‘weeds’ that will have absorbed neonicotinoids through the contaminated soil. This would devastate precious wildflower habitats and the already endangered insects that depend on them.
The Wildlife Trusts strongly oppose this decision. We urge the Prime Minister to reverse it, and stop this backwards slide for nature.