Catherine West MP has today called for the Government to reverse its decision to lift the ban on bee-killing pesticides, known as neonicotinoids. This pesticide is seriously harmful to Britain’s dwindling bee populations and will further damage biodiversity.
Catherine also accuses the Government of rolling back on commitments made to uphold the ban by previous Environment Secretary, Michael Gove. He pledged to uphold the ban on neonicotinoids in 2017. At the time Michael Gove, said: “The weight of evidence now shows the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our £100bn food industry, is greater than previously understood … We cannot afford to put our pollinator populations at risk.” He also said: “Unless the evidence base changes again, the Government will keep these restrictions in place after we have left the EU.”
Catherine is concerned that this is a worrying indication of the Government rolling back other hard-won environmental gains after Britain has left the EU, which would be a breaking their manifesto commitment on environmental protections which states that during trade negotiations they will “not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.”
Furthermore, just this week there were reports that Britain will continue to allow plastic waste to be exported to developing countries. This would be breaking another Conservative manifesto commitment on banning the practice.
Luke Pollard, the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has written to the government to urge him to reverse lifting the ban, and for this to be scrutinised by MPs with a vote in Parliament.
Catherine West MP said: “The Tories promised not to lift the ban on bee-killing neonicotinoids, yet less than a month after Brexit they’ve already broken their word. A rolling back of environmental standards is exactly what I always feared from a Government whose word means nothing. We have already lost too many bees and if bee-killing chemicals are allowed to be used again I worry that we will lose even more. The Government need to immediately reverse the lifting of this ban and hold a vote in Parliament where I’ll strongly oppose these plans.”
Luke Pollard MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary added: “Bee health is non-negotiable. The ban on bee-killing pesticides must remain in place to protect our natural environment. Labour is demanding a vote in Parliament on the Government’s plan to allow bee-killing pesticides. Labour supports our farmers but ending this ban is not the solution to tackle crop blight.”