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The decision today to introduce EU-wide restrictions on neonicotinoid insecticides linked to bee decline is a significant victory for bees and common sense, said Friends of the Earth.

However, the environmental charity warned that pesticides are not the only threat bees face, and renewed its call for the UK Government to urgently introduce a Bee Action Plan.

Through its Bee Cause campaign Friends of the Earth played a leading role in persuading major home and garden retailers to act on neonicotinoid insecticides.

Over recent months firms such as B&Q, Homebase, Wyevale and Dobbies have removed these products from their shelves - and Waitrose announced plans to remove these chemicals from supply chains. 

Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said: 

“This decision is a significant victory for common sense and our beleagured bee populations.

"Restricting the use of these pesticides could be an historic milestone on the road to recovery for these crucial pollinators.

"But pesticides are just one of the threats bees face - if David Cameron is genuinely concerned about declining bee numbers he must urgently introduce a Bee Action Plan."

Commenting on the UK Government's failure to support restrictions on neonicotinoids, Andrew Pendleton said:

"The UK Government's refusal to back restrictions on these chemicals, despite growing scientific concern about their impact, is yet another blow to its environmental credibility.

"Ministers must now help farmers to grow and protect crops, but without relying so heavily on chemicals – especially those linked to bee decline.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

  1. The European Commission adopted proposals to act on neonicotinoids. The EC proposal follows a report by the European Food Safety Authority earlier this year linking three neonicotinoid insecticides to bee decline.
  2. Over 175 MPs from all parties as well as Waitrose, the Co-op, the Women’s Institute and tens of thousands of individuals have backed our call for a Bee Action Plan.
  3. Leading home and garden retailers have removed products containing the three neonicotinoid insecticides from their shelves following a campaign work by Friends of the Earth. Stores that have taken action include:
  • B&Q (321 UK stores)
  • Wilkinson (372)
  • Homebase (340 in the UK and Ireland)
  • Wickes (200+)
  • The Garden Centre group (129)
  • Dobbies garden centres (32)
  • Klondyke garden centres (24)
  • Notcutts garden centres (19)
  • Scats garden centres (18)
  • Squires garden centres (14)
  • Blue Diamond garden centres (14)
  • Hillier garden centres (13)
  • The Garden Store garden centres (8)
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.
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