Cambridge’s MP Daniel Zeichner has called for a Parliamentary vote after the government granted an emergency use of neonicotinoids - pesticides banned by the European Union due to their impact on bees.
The Labour MP, who is shadow minister with national responsibility for pesticide use, described it as a “worrying indication” of the government’s environmental credentials post-Brexit.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced last Friday (January 8) that it was allowing growers in England to use Syngenta’s Cruiser SB - which features the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam - on sugar beet only during 2021, due to the threat to this year’s crop from the beet yellows virus.
“Sugar beet is a non-flowering crop and the risks to bees from the sugar beet crop itself were assessed to be acceptable,” said Defra.
Mr Zeichner, who is vice-president of Cambridgeshire Bee Keepers Association and a species champion for the ruderal bumblebee, said: “With up to three quarters of our crops dependent on bees and other pollinators, we all need our bees to be safe.
“This is a worrying indication of the government diverging on hard-won environmental gains following Brexit.
“Local people don’t want pollinator poisons on our fields. As an environment minister I‘m working hard to protect bees, that is why I am calling for a Parliamentary vote to stop the government’s plan to allow bee-killing pesticides to be used again.