Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Bee-killing pesticide ‘fundamental threat to our survival’ Cambridge MP tells Commons





Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner took the Government to task in the House of Commons yesterday (March 5) for once again providing emergency authorisation of the bee-killing pesticide Cruiser B.

Cruiser B is a neonicotinoid, which are banned in the EU for all outdoor uses, and restricted in several US states out of concern for pollinators and bees. Bees exposed to sublethal amounts of neonicotinoids can result in reductions in food consumption, reproduction, worker survival rates, colony survival, and foraging activity.

Bees are crucial to the balance of nature. Picture: MarkFarrington
Bees are crucial to the balance of nature. Picture: MarkFarrington

Over the longer term their continued use will mean the loss all the plants that bees usually naturally pollinate. All the wild animals that eat those plants would then struggle to find food. This plant-based food shortage could continue along the food chain and eventually affect almost all living creatures on the planet.

Speaking in Westminster Hall, Mr Zeichner said: “So here we are once again, Minister - it is very much a case of déjà vu. How many times is it that the Government has ridden roughshod over expert opinion by allowing yet another emergency authorisation for the use of Cruiser B. Four times? Once again the Government has ignored the advice of Government scientific advisers on the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP).

“They said in September they were not able to support an authorisation for Cruiser SB, because the ‘potential adverse effects to honeybees and other pollinators outweigh the likely benefits’. And of course, they are right….one third of the UK bee population has disappeared in the last decade. Since 1900, 13 of 35 native bee species have been lost. There has been a dramatic decline in the number of all pollinators, which has fallen by over 50 per cent between 1985 and 2005.

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner. Picture: Keith Heppell

“This is a fundamental threat to the survival of a much-loved part of our natural world – a threat that we should challenge not only for its own sake, but because the economic consequences are severe. Quite frankly, we would struggle to survive without bees. They are crucial to our physical health and the health of the wider environment.”

In response, the Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, Mark Spencer, said: “Decisions to allow or not to allow the use of pesticides are based on careful scientific assessment of the risks. The aim is to achieve a high level of protection for people, animals and the environment while improving agricultural production. The decision to grant the emergency authorisation of Cruiser B was not taken lightly and was based on robust assessment of the environmental and economic risks and benefits.”

Bees pollinate many plant species and their loss would be catastrophic for the environment. Picture: Niall Carson/PA
Bees pollinate many plant species and their loss would be catastrophic for the environment. Picture: Niall Carson/PA

Speaking afterwards, Mr Zeichner, the shadow Farming Minister, added: “We cannot allow further devastation. We simply would not be able to survive without bees, and it is deeply concerning that the Government won’t take that seriously. It’s time to follow the science and stop using toxic chemicals on our fields.”

Earlier this month, the Office for Environmental Protection found that the Government was “largely off-track” on its environmental targets, which include ensuring clean and plentiful water, managing exposure to chemicals and pesticides minimising waste.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More