Bee-harming pesticide use given emergency authorisation

by | Jan 23, 2023 | Science

Neonicotinoids can have harmful effects on pollinatorsThe UK government has again given emergency authorisation for the use of a type of pesticide banned because of the harm it can cause bees.Permission to use a neonicotinoid on sugar beet seeds has been given to protect the crop from a particularly damaging virus spread by aphids.The authorisation was given against the advice of an independent panel of pesticide experts.Campaign group Friends of the Earth labelled the move “incredibly brazen”.But Michael Sly, chairman of the NFU Sugar board, welcomed the decision, saying he was “relieved”.”The British sugar beet crop continues to be threatened by virus yellows disease, which in recent years has caused crop losses of up to 80%. The home-grown sugar industry is working hard to find viable, long-term solutions to this disease,” he said.The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said strict conditions would be in place and the pesticide – a seed treatment called thiamethoxam – could only be used if independent modelling predicted a yellows virus incidence of 63% or above.If that threshold is met and the pesticide used, other conditions will minimise risks to the environment, it said.The overall ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides remains in place.Farming Minister Mark Spencer said the emergency authorisation was taken after “careful consideration” and as “a necessary measure to protect the industry”.The decision was informed by advi …

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