Wildlife and environmental groups in the UK have increased pressure to ban the use of pesticides in a bid to protect the environment.
They have begun campaigns and have called on the Defra to implement a complete ban on neonicotinoids. They do face strong opposition by farming unions and groups though, as reported by fwi.co.uk.
The Friends of the Earth, a wildlife conservation group, upped the pressure on Defre secretary Michael Gove, by releasing results of a survey they conducted on the public attitude towards the pesticide. The did so as the pesticides in question are a known danger to bee populations.
The study had 1,716 participants in total and took place between September 22nd and 24th. The participants were asked, “Do you think the UK government should support or oppose extending the ban on these pesticides?”.
The results of the survey found that 76%, of people surveyed said they should support current EU proposals to extend current restrictions on the pesticide.
The National Farmers Union have come out since, accusing the group of asking the survey participants a loaded question. They argue that a total ban is unjustified and argue there is no clear evidence to suggest their use has led to a decline in bee numbers.
Mr Smith, NFU president, said, “It’s very important that good science decides these issues rather than NGO-organised vox pops which ask people loaded questions such as ‘Do you want to see bee-killing pesticides banned?’.”
The EU placed a temporary ban on the use of three neonicotinoids on any flowering crops almost 4 years ago. This was due to their connection to declining bee numbers. The commission now hope to extend the ban and hope to extend it to all crops.
Copa, an EU farmer umbrella group, also supported the views of the NFU, warning that a total ban will devastate crop production. Friends of the Earth though named a number of studies which found that these banned pesticides can in fact leach into nearby wildflowers, therefore threatening the existence of bees.
The EU aim to discuss the ban early next week, with Member states to decide whether to support it or not. The UK has previously voted against the ban back in 2013 after the Food and Environment Agency found that bee populations ““remained viable and productive in the presence of the neonicotinoid pesticides under these field conditions”
The European Food Safety Authority(Efsa) are conducting a risk assessment of the three neonics in question, with results due next month.