Arable

DEFRA dismisses study linking bee deaths to pesticide use

Sunday 23 September 2012 08:00
Bee on flower.

A DEFRA report has rejected calls for a ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, dismissing the latest research findings that claim their use is having serious repercussions on UK bee colonies.

In a report published earlier this week, the government said while the studies were interesting, none of them gave "unequivocal" evidence that sub-lethal effects are likely to arise from current uses of neonicotinoid pesticides.

It added in studies submitted in support of the present approvals, hives exposed to treated crops did not show any gross effects when compared to control hives exposed to untreated crops.

This is despite a recent ban in France by The French Ministry of Agriculture for Cruiser OSR, a neonicotinoid insecticide that contains the active ingredient thiamethoxam.

Syngenta has welcomed the findings with head of public affairs Luke Gibbs saying that the report is solid, science based work providing a good independent and balanced overview of most relevant and recent bee neonicotinoid literature.

"In addition, this has a scientifically sound regulatory conclusion from the Chemical Regulations Directorate. It is reassuring that the UK government is basing its position on solid science rather than politics."

"It is reassuring that the UK government is basing its position on solid science rather than politics."
Syngenta's Luke Gibbs

However, pressure groups including Friends of the Earth don't agree with the report's findings. Paul de Zylva, believes Ministers should follow the lead of countries such as France and Italy in suspending the use of these pesticides' until they have been thoroughly assessed.

"The Government's failure to act on neonicotinoid pesticides is astonishing - there is still a massive question mark over the impact of these chemicals in declining bee populations."

DEFRA however have said, although recent studies do not justify changing existing regulation, research into assessing the impact of neonicotinoid use on bee's will continue.

More on this topic

Read more on Frances' ban on the pesticide

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