Labour MEP calls on government to stand up for bees and back pesticide ban


The government must not yield to companies demanding exemptions from an EU ban on pesticides harmful to bees, Labour's European health spokesperson said today.

Syngenta, whose neonicotinoid pesticide was given a three-year ban by the European Union in 2013 due to research linking it to serious harm in bees, have applied to the UK government for an 'emergency' exemption from rules restricting the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.

Glenis Willmott MEP, health and food spokesperson for Labour MEPs, said:

"The UK government must not support industry attempts to circumvent EU restrictions on pesticides harmful to bees.

"The EU ban is in place to protect our rapidly declining bee population. Since 2007 the number of bees in the UK has fallen by an estimated 30 per cent. Considering around three quarters of crops are reliant on pollination by bees, this is a serious problem.

"The UK government was always resistant to the ban, but it is vital we work at EU level if we are to have any chance of reversing the worrying decline of bees worldwide.

"Just this week yet more evidence was published showing neonicotinoids cause harm to bees and other pollinators, and it would be outrageous for the government to allow industry a way around the restrictions now."

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