Saturday, April 1, 2017

Victoria's Green Matters - 1st April 2017

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column on Green Issues for us: 
 There are many things to worry us about the break away from Europe, not least the possible weakening of environmental legislation which, at present, protects our countryside, waterways and wildlife.

The European Commission has drafted some new regulations to protect bees and other pollinating insects from the use of the controversial insecticides, neonicotinoids.

Neonicotinoids have been in use for more than 20 years but since the number of bees has been declining for decades, due to habitat loss, disease and pesticide use, pressure has been brought to bear on governments to ban their use. A study of Europe’s 2000 bee species, published in 2015, showed that the wild bee population was in serious decline, with one in ten species facing the threat of extinction.

Bees and other pollinating insects are vital for many food crops but there has been a ferocious battle between environmentalists, farmers and pesticide manufacturers. The scientific evidence on the toxicity of the pesticides is significantly high to warrant a campaign by Avaaz, which, to date, has 4.4 million signatures. Farmers and manufacturers continue to argue that food crops need the protection of these insecticides.

The European Union already has a temporary ban on the neonicotinoids but these new proposals are for a complete ban on their use in fields with an exception for crops grown in greenhouses.

There is some hope that our government will go along with the ban because they have rejected repeated requests from UK farmers to authorise an ‘emergency’ use of the pesticides.

While we have stepped into the unknown by triggering Article 50 this week, we must continue to campaign to safeguard our environment in any way we can.

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