Bee-killing pesticides banned in EU found at unsafe levels in English rivers

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Bee-killing pesticides person been recovered astatine unsafe levels successful English rivers, arsenic the authorities considers allowing the usage of 1 that is banned successful the EU.

Environmental groups and farmers are waiting to perceive whether a toxic neonicotinoid, thiamethoxam, volition beryllium approved by the authorities for English sweetener beet farms for a 4th consecutive year. Wildlife campaigners accidental it is “unacceptable” that ministers person “ignored the science” and allowed the usage of these unsafe chemicals.

The substance was discussed astatine the latest gathering of the government’s adept committee connected pesticides connected 12 September. While the pesticide has been banned successful the EU for years, it was allowed for exigency usage until this year, erstwhile it was banned entirely. Now the UK has near the EU it is capable to marque its ain rules connected pesticides. Recent probe recovered that 36 pesticides banned by the EU are not ruled retired for usage successful the UK.

The pesticides are toxic for bees but are besides astatine definite levels toxic to aquatic life, and stay and physique up successful stream systems.

New probe by the Rivers Trust and Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL) recovered that 1 oregon much of 5 harmful neonicotinoids analysed were recovered successful much than 1 successful 10 English stream sites tested by the Environment Agency (29 of 283 sites). At 55% of these 29 sites 1 oregon much neonicotinoids were supra the EU’s projected biology prime modular (EQS) – the level deemed harmless for aquatic wildlife. Twenty 1 per cent of sites had 1 oregon much toxic pesticides astatine implicit 4 times the harmless level.

Rivers astir affected by the pesticides were recovered successful the eastbound of England, south-east and West Midlands successful rivers including the Ivel, Waveney, Nene, Ouse and Tame.

Barnaby Coupe, the onshore usage argumentation manager astatine the Wildlife Trusts, said: “This probe reveals that our rivers and waterways are plagued by a cocktail of neonicotinoid pesticides, contempt these chemicals being banned since 2018.

“It is wholly unacceptable that the authorities is allowing these chemicals to pollute the situation erstwhile the grounds for the disastrous interaction of neonicotinoids grows twelvemonth connected year. It has ignored the subject and the proposal of its ain experts successful granting repetition authorisations to use toxic neonicotinoids to our countryside, and the effect is overmuch diminished wildlife.”

Gareth Morgan, the caput of farming astatine the Soil Association, said: “Year aft twelvemonth this nonaccomplishment to assistance farmers has led to the suspension of the alleged prohibition connected these bee-harming pesticides. With truthful overmuch of British wildlife successful decline, it is captious that the authorities stops kicking the tin down the roadworthy connected this issue. Organic and agroecological farmers are proving that nutrient tin beryllium produced without pesticides. Government indispensable enactment present to assistance each farmers power to nature-friendly practices crossed their full farms. We indispensable halt simply reaching for different toxic solution.”

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A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “Our broad program for h2o is tackling each root of contamination done much investment, stronger regularisation and tougher enforcement, portion ensuring the usage of pesticides does not harm radical oregon airs unacceptable risks to our rivers.

“In our forthcoming pesticides enactment program we volition besides acceptable retired our ambition to minimise the risks and impacts of pesticides done an accrued uptake of integrated pest absorption crossed each sectors. More widely, we person much than doubled the backing to assistance farmers to amended slurry management, portion besides expanding our sustainable farming inducement connection to wage farmers to trim their usage of insecticides.”

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