‘Virendra Sharma MP: ‘Keep the ban on bee harming pesticides’
As ministers prepare to make decision on application to lift the ban, pressure builds to keep neonicotinoids off our fields this summer
Virendra Sharma MP has added his name to a growing list of MPs who are opposed to lifting of the ban on bee harming pesticides.
Neonicotinoids have been restricted across Europe since 2013 due to mounting evidence that they pose a risk to bees. Bees are responsible for pollinating two thirds of the food we eat. But the National Farmers Union (NFU) has applied to the government to lift the ban in some parts of the country. Ministers are currently considering their application.
Virendra Sharma MP took the pledge to oppose the lifting of the ban at a Parliamentary event held this week, organised by Friends of the Earth. MPs heard new evidence from scientists and from a Lincolnshire farmer who had stopped using these pesticides before the ban. Speaking after the event, Virendra Sharma, said:
“The message is loud and clear from people in Ealing, Southall: keep the ban on bee harming pesticides. I have listened to their concerns and I’ll be making my opposition very clear in parliament to any plan to lift the ban.”
Sandra Bell, The Bee Cause campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:
“Bees are essential for pollinating our crops - we can’t afford to gamble with their future. The Government must keep these dangerous pesticides out of our fields.”
On 4 May the Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) considered an application by the NFU for farmers to use restricted neonicotinoid seed treatments on oilseed rape crops later this year. A similar application was granted by the government last year, following a recommendation by the ECP that it be accepted. Neonicotinoid treated oilseed rape was planted in four counties in the East of England.
125,000 38 Degrees members have signed the petition to Environment Minister Liz Truss to keep the ban on bee-killing pesticides. A breakdown of signatures per constituency is available on request.
The Great British Bee Count, organised by Friends of the Earth, takes place between (19 May-30 June). It aims to raise awareness about Britain’s under threat bees – including the variety of species (we have over 260 in Britain alone). Register for the free app at: http://www.greatbritishbeecount.co.uk/