No to Neonicotinoids

We are deeply disappointed that the Government has taken the decision to give emergency authorisation (derogation) for a product containing a neonicotinoid to be used on sugar beet crops this year.

The Wildlife Trusts are agreed that this decision should be reversed.  The banning of neonicotinoids (a class of insecticide) in 2018 was a significant step towards halting the drastic ongoing decline in invertebrate populations across the UK. Their use is contrary to the commitments made by the government to invest in nature’s recovery and tackle the biodiversity crisis.

Recent evidence suggests we have already lost 50% or more of our insects since 1970.  This is primarily due to loss of habitats and the use of pesticides, herbicides and the wider use of harmful chemicals. It is vital that we all play our part in halting this decline - whether that is not using such things in our gardens and in everyday life, providing homes for insects in our urban green spaces, or farmers managing land in a way that supports our struggling ecosystems and wildlife, keeps our soils in good health and produces food as well as supporting their livelihoods.

Southern cuckoo bee on wildflower

Chris Gomersall/2020VISION

The ban of Neonicotonoids is not just about protecting bees. It goes much further. It also ensures greater protection for the myriad of other pollinators and invertebrates on our land and in our wetlands, those within our soils and rivers, that are equally vital to sustain the healthy ecosystems that support food production, also serving as critical food sources for numerous larger animals including birds, bats, reptiles, amphibians and fish.

The increased transmission of sugar beet virus is in part due to changes in our climate, so in the future these situations will no longer be ‘emergencies’ - they will be commonplace. We don’t believe that anyone within the farming community should arrive in a situation where their only option to protect their crops and their livelihood is through the emergency derogation of a banned substance. 

There needs to be greater transparency and collaboration on this issue between the wider agricultural industry, the government and environmental sector in order to generate the best outcomes for nature and farming going forwards.

It is vital that the government urgently invests in and supports the agricultural sector to find practical alternatives for pest control, for example, helping land managers adopt Integrated Pest Management, alongside other agroecological practices on their land. The government also needs to better support the farming community in adapting their land management approaches in order to farm more sustainably, with wildlife in mind and to mitigate against, and built resilience to, the impacts of climate change. Unless it does so, it will not be able to make good the promises made in the Agricultural Act 2020; to deliver cleaner, greener landscapes, to reverse species decline and to restore biodiversity. 

 

Want to hear a balanced view from experts?

Tune in to our WildLIVE recorded event on the subject and here and listen to all perspectives on this complex issue.

Tune in

 

Did you know that neonicotinoids are used in many flea treatments?

https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/news/flea-treatments-damaging-freshwater-ecosystems

 

Want to read up on the issue further?

This issue is extremely complex and Somerset Wildlife Trust don’t have all the answers, but there are plenty of public resources available to read up on the subject in order to capture a balanced view.  Here’s some to start you off:

https://www.whatthesciencesays.org/briefing-sheet-conserving-insects/

https://www.fas.scot/downloads/tn725-integrated-pest-management/

https://www.fas.scot/downloads/information-note-beneficial-insects-pollinators-why-we-need-them-and-how-you-can-help/

 

How can you take Action for Insects?

We can ALL do something to help reverse the decline of insects. Find out what you can do by taking a look at our Action for Insects campaign page here: https://www.somersetwildlife.org/what-we-do/restore-somersets-nature/campaign-nature/action-insects

 

Sign the Wildlife Trusts petition

Sign here