It is early days but we were promised a "Green Brexit" by Michael Gove Indeed Michael Gove has promised us that "the right decisions, can enhance our natural environment."
Well one of the first environmental changes made by this government since full Brexit has ben the issue of an emergency authorisation for the use of neonicotinoids on sugar beet seeds - just 8 days into the New Year.
- There are conditions attached to this emergency authorisation:
- Seeds treated with the neonicotinoids can only be on the market for 120 days.
- Seeds can only be used when there is a risk of serious drop in yield due to beet yellow virus.;
- The emergency authorisation will be reviewed after three years
- There are proposals attached to this emergency authorisation:
- The applicant has proposed a reduced level of application to the seeds
- The applicant has proposed the use of a virus-incidence forecasting programme so that the dressing is only used when "economic impacts would be incurred".
- The applicant has proposed a "stewardship scheme" to address risks to pollinating insects.
- In a section about bees attention is drawn to the following points:
- Sugar beet is a non-flowering crop and therefore of less interest to bees
- There is a risk that bees will visit flowering weeds between the beet plants. This will be prevented by the use of herbicides.
- Neonicotinoids are persistent in the environment so it is proposed that no flowering crops be grown on the plots for 22 months and
- No oil-seed rape to be planted on the same plot for 32 months.
The paper describes the risk to mammals and birds from eating the seedlings is "acceptable" and the chance of birds eating the pelleted seed was minimal.
This does seem to be a restricted use of neonicotinoids but is it the thin end of the wedge?
Why is it being allowed at all on a crop which produces a product the government are doing their best to discourage us from consuming.
Neonicotinoids are known to harm bees and their use is something we should be aware of.
These are early days for this "Green Brexit" but it is something all of us concerned with the natural environment should be watching very closely.
If you are looking for something more uplifting may I suggest you look at the lectures advertised on the Diary Dates page.