|Native black bees in Kilchoan far from oilseed rape and neonicotinoids|
The UK government has just lifted the EU wide ban on neonicotinoid seed dressings to control flea beetle in oilseed rape crops, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that this stuff does affect bees. Its a political decision ignoring the science. Perhaps that's why they haven't published the minutes of the latest UK Pesticide Safety Committee meeting. Could be that the discussion didn't suit the chemical industry and the NFU.
Our bees here in Lochaber are safe enough its when they are foraging in oilseed rape crops that the bees are poisoned. It seems that any species that ingests oilseed rape tissue, pollen or nectar is susceptible. According to one credible scientific source it only takes 5 maize seeds treated with neonics to kill a partridge.
Lab experiments have shown that the bee's ability to navigate and find its way back to the hive is damaged by these chemicals. There is an important principle at stake here; The "Precautionary Approach" it means we should assume that there will be damaging side effects of new technology and it should therefore be thoroughly screened, tested and evaluated for environmental safety.
It seems that the pursuit of profit at any environmental cost is compromising the UK Government's obligation to keep us safe and the environment healthy. Members of the Pesticide Safety Committee might consider resignation en masse in protest. But of course they won't!
Without the Pesticide Safety Committee's work we would still be using dieldrin and DDT ,nerve gas derivatives, to control parasites of sheep while poisoning wildlife and Shepherds.