Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Britain's biggest farmer bans neonicotinoids

I'm glad to be able to bring you good news for once - the Co-op, which owns 25,000 hectares of farm land in Britain - has banned the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on all its farms to protect honeybees.

>> Simon Press, senior technical manager at the Co-op group said: "We believe that the recent losses in bee populations need definitive action, and as a result are temporarily prohibiting the eight neonicotinoid pesticides until we have evidence that refutes their involvement in the decline."

>> Laboratory tests suggest that one of the banned chemicals, imidacloprid, can impede honeybees' sophisticated communication and navigation systems. It has been banned in France for a decade as a seed dressing on sunflowers. Italy, Slovenia and Germany banned neonicotinoids last year after the loss of millions of honeybees. And the European Parliament voted earlier this month for tougher controls on bee-toxic chemicals.

>> Paul Monaghan, the Co-op's head of social goals accused the UK government of failing to recognise that "pesticides could be a contributing factor" in the breakdown of nature's number one pollinating machine.

Full story here

The BBC Today programme ran a very good piece about the decline in UK honeybees. There was an interview with a senior executive from the Co-op who said that they had decided to ban all 8 neonicotinoid pesticides from all the farms which the Co-op owns - and they are going to give £150,000 for emergency research - including pesticides; they are also proposing a 10 point plan to assist honeybees in the UK, which they are planning to implement throughout the Co-op's farming operations and stores.

The Co-op spokesman said that although there was no conclusive proof that neonicotinoids were the primary cause of honeybee collapse - what was glaringly self evident was that no serious research was going on in the UK into pesticides and honeybees.

You can listen again to this segment of the programme for a short time by visiting this page - then choose the '0845' section of the programme from the menu on the page - "0845 Britain's biggest farmer, the Co-op, will launch a 10-point rescue plan for the honeybee, after a steep decline in numbers. Science correspondent Tom Feilden reports on the package which even includes a ban on a group of pesticides."

With depressing predictability, the BBKA's spin doctors have massaged the story on their web site to make it sound like the Co-op are donating money to the BBKA - and guess what - NO MENTION WHATSOEVER OF PESTICIDES! There can be no doubt now that the BBKA executive have been 'nobbled' by Bayer - they dare not even utter the 'P' word.

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