No ban on pesticides despite links to sharp declines in bees
Michael McCarthy, formerly the Independent’s longstanding Environment Editor, now its Environment Columnist, is one of Britain’s leading writers on the environment and the natural world. He has won a string of awards for his work, including Environment Journalist of the Year (three times) and Specialist Writer of the Year in the British Press Awards in 2001. In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of the RSPB for “Outstanding Services to Conservation,” in 2010 he was awarded the Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London, and in 2011 the Dilys Breeze Medal of the British Trust for Ornithology. In 2009 McCarthy published Say Goodbye To The Cuckoo (John Murray), a study of Britain’s declining migrant birds.
Thursday 06 September 2012
Nerve-agent pesticides should not be banned in Britain despite four separate scientific studies strongly linking them to sharp declines in bees around the world, Government scientists have advised.
An internal review of recent research on neonicotinoids – pesticides that act on insects' central nervous systems and are increasingly blamed for problems with bee colonies – has concluded that no change is needed in British regulation.
The British position contrasts sharply with that of France, which in June banned one of the pesticides, thiamethoxam. French scientists said it was impairing the abilities of honeybees to find their way back to their nests. The Green MP Caroline Lucas described the British attitude as one of "astonishing complacency".
The French research was published in March in the journal Science at the same time as another study by British researchers from the University of Stirling, implicating neonicotinoids in the decline of bumblebees. In January, the US government's chief bee researcher published a study showing that imidacloprid makes honeybees more susceptible to disease, even at doses so low as to be barely detectable. And in April, a team from Harvard claimed that imidacloprid was the culprit in colony collapse disorder.
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