Trust expresses alarm after return of banned pesticide

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is alarmed to learn the Government has agreed the use of a highly damaging pesticide - neonicotinoid thiamethoxam- for the treatment of sugar beet seed in response to beet yellows virus. 

Neonicotinoids are banned across Europe over concerns that they kill bees and other pollinators. In 2017, the UK Government supported restrictions on the neonicotinoid pesticides across the European Union. The then Environment Secretary Michael Gove, gave a commitment to maintain these restrictions post-Brexit unless the scientific evidence changed.

As a result of lobbying from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and British Sugar, a product containing the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam was sanctioned for emergency use on sugar beet seeds this year because of the threat posed by a virus.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust owns and manages a number of sites across the county which are designated purely for their invertebrate interest and don’t want to see their already scarce populations made any more vulnerable.

Anna Nixon, Ecological Projects Officer for the Trust, said: “We also work with several landowners via facilitation funds on a large number of projects – and understand their concerns.

“But the evidence shows this group of pesticides has a devastating impact on wildlife.

“As a charity, we have set out plans to work towards a Nature Recovery Network, creating more and better-connected insect friendly habitat.

“But when things like this are allowed to happen, it feels like we are swimming against the tide.

“This is an alarming move which will destroy species which we depend on for the health of our natural world.”

The Trust is asking people to sign the ‘Stop the UK from allowing EU banned bee-killing pesticide to be reintroduced’ petition here