0 Environmental groups want to keep restrictions on insecticides as renewal date looms

Seventeen of the UK's leading wildlife, conservation and environment groups are calling for the current EU restrictions on neonicotinoid insecticides to be retained - and extended to all crops - to 'protect Britain's bees'.

In an open letter to the UK government, the organisations say "it is clear that there is now more than enough evidence to retain the ban and extend it to all crops, and that this is essential to reverse the decline of bees and other pollinators."

The EU restrictions, which ban the use of three neonicotinoids on flowering crops, is due to be reviewed next year. The ban was introduced in 2013 after European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that the chemicals posed a 'high acute risk' to honey bees.

In the letter, the organisations - which include Friends of the Earth, RSPB, Greenpeace, The Wildlife Trusts, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation and Bat Conservation Trust - say: "Since 2013 many more independent laboratory and field studies have found neonics impairing the ability of different bee species to feed, navigate and reproduce resulting in declining populations.

"The government says it will not hesitate to act on evidence of harm. The third anniversary of the neonics restrictions is Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom's chance to catch up with scientific evidence and public opinion by keeping and extending the ban as part of properly protecting Britain's bees and pollinating insects."

Farmers access to right inputs 'crucial'

In a debate on crop protection at CropTec 2016 this week, National Farmers Union chief crops adviser Guy Gagen said farmers need to be ready to talk to the public about crop protection products, and to emphasise the work farmers to do for the environment and to promote biodiversity on their farm.

The NFU has been meeting with both domestic and European politicians, Defra government officials and stakeholders to deliver the message that it is 'crucial' that farmers have access to the right inputs so their farm businesses can be 'competitive, profitable and progressive'.

Mr Gagen stressed the importance of increasing public awareness around the use of crop protection products, such as pesticides, underlining their importance to farm businesses.

He said: "We still have to deal with regulatory pressures coming through the EU, these are not going away and without key products, the situation for farmers could become very serious, very quickly.

"There are simple, but effective, measures available to promote biodiversity and protect water such as keeping slug pellets and herbicides out of the water and participation in stewardship schemes such as the Campaign for the Farmed Environment."

You can read the full article from Farming UK HERE

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