Bee vote stalemate
15 March 2013
Responding to news that European Commission proposals today to restrict the use of neonicotinoid insecticides linked to be decline failed to get the necessary qualified majority, Friends of the Earth's Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said:
"This is a cop-out by a significant number of European governments, including the UK - it means yet more dither and delay while our bee populations plummet.
"UK Ministers dragged their feet over ash trees, now they risk doing the same with bees.
"There is more than enough evidence that these chemicals are linked to bee decline to place immediate restrictions on their use.
"The UK Government could and should follow the example of retailers and take action to ban these products.
"We need a Bee Action Plan to protect these precious pollinators from all the threats they face, such as habitat loss in our towns and countryside.
Over recent weeks Friends of the Earth has revealed that a number of Britain's leading home and garden retailers are removing insecticides containing the three neonicotinoids identified by EFSA. The firms, which between them operate over a thousand stores and make up a large part of the DIY and Garden Centre sector include B&Q, Homebase, Wickes, the Garden Centre Group (owners of Wyevale and Blooms), Dobbies and Notcutts.
Notes to editors
1. Many of the UK's leading home and gardening retailers have removed neonicotinoid insecticides linked to bee decline from their shelves, for more information please see here.
2. A number of leading environment and conservation groups are backing European Commission proposals for a ban including Friends of the Earth, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, Buglife and the Soil Association. See letter published in the Telegraph (half way down).
3. The UK is home to over 250 species of bee including honey bees, bumblebees and solitary bees. Bees are important to our food supply and our economy but they are under threat. Since 1900, the UK has lost 20 species of bee. A further 35 bee species are considered to be under threat of extinction.
4. A report published last year revealed that it would cost the UK £1.8 billion every year to hand-pollinate crops without bees.
5. Friends of the Earth's The Bee Cause campaign is supporting individuals to make change in their gardens and communities to help bees, and asking the Prime Minister to commit to a National Bee Action Plan. To support the call to David Cameron and find out what else you can do to help bees, visit The Bee Cause webpage www.foe.co.uk/bees
If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.
Published by Friends of the Earth Trust
Last modified: Mar 2013