The Scottish Wildlife Trust and a coalition of environmental organisations are calling for a ban on dangerous insecticides ahead of a crucial vote in Europe.
The environmental coalition has written to Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, asking him to urge the UK Government to support the partial ban on the use of three types of neurotoxins known as neonicotinoids. The insecticides are commonly used in Scotland on crops including oilseed rape.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust has been calling for a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides since last year. More and more scientific evidence is being gathered, pointing to the conclusion that these pesticides impair the homing ability of bees and other pollinators. Following the precautionary principle, the Trust believes neonicotinoids should be banned until such time it can be shown that they are not harmful to bee populations.
The latest vote follows on from the European Food Safety Authority’s scientific review of three neonicotinoid products: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. They identified some high acute risks to honeybees and highlighted critical data gaps that prevented a full risk assessment for other exposure routes and other insect species.
The Commission’s proposed restrictions are a measured response to the identified risks and uncertainties, in line with the precautionary principle. Bees and other pollinating insects play a vital role in food production, worth approximately £43 million each year to Scotland’s economy, as well as being an integral part of natural ecosystems.
Simon Milne, Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust said:
“As the weight of evidence continues to grow, showing the damage that these toxins can do to honeybees and other wild pollinators, we believe Scotland should lead the way in supporting the EU’s proposed ban. It seems ridiculous that the UK and indeed Scotland are still advocating that these chemicals are safe to use on outdoor crops, when what government and industry should be doing is helping farmers move away from neonicotinoids to a more sustainable means of pest control, which is also beneficial to wildlife.”