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Govt response to MPs concerns over Bee Action Plan inadequate

news release

Commenting on the Government’s response today (Wednesday 15 October 2014) to a report by a Committee of MPs that was critical of its draft National Pollinator Strategy, Friends of the Earth Nature Campaigner Sandra Bell said: “This response will simply add to fears that the National Pollinator Strategy won’t be up to the task of safeguarding our bees.

“The Government seems intent on allowing a business-as-usual approach to spraying pesticides and fails to set out a plan for helping farmers turn the countryside into a less barren place for bees.

“Councils, businesses and people across the country are already playing their part in protecting Britain’s bees – it’s time Ministers took ambitious action too.”


Notes to editors:

1. The Government has set out its response to the Environmental Audit Committee’s report on the National Pollinator Strategy.

2. Friends of the Earth considers the response is inadequate and raises concerns about whether the National Pollinator Strategy will be strong enough to effectively tackle bee decline.  The response:

•  Defends research to be carried out by pesticide companies but does not say whether the Government will take into account the wealth of independent peer reviewed science that finds neonicotinoids as a threat to bees, birds and earthworms.

•  Fails to set out any ambition to reduce pesticide use, it’s interpretation of Integrated Pest Management as a way to “ensure better targeted use of all available pest control measures”  ignores the clear requirement from the EU Sustainable Use Directive to take “all necessary measures to promote low pesticide-input pest management, giving wherever possible priority to non-chemical methods”

•  Fails to set out how the majority of farmers will be supported to take action to help bees.  The Government suggest that the new Environmental Stewardship scheme of the CAP will be the best way to do this.  But this will only cover about a third of farmed land.  Greening measures that apply to the majority of farmers under Pillar 1 of CAP will be announced later this year but proposals seen so far would do very little to help pollinators  Recent studies of bee decline due to land use change found that sites surrounded by urban expansion showed less declines than sites surrounded by arable intensification and that cities have been found to have more bee species than farmland

3. Friends of the Earth has led the campaign to save British bees and other pollinators since launching its Bee Cause campaign in April 2012, which convinced the Government to introduce a national Bee Action Plan (National Pollinator Strategy – NPS) by building a coalition of more than 200 MPs, businesses such as B&Q and the Co-operative, the Women’s Institute and over 70,000 individuals. The environment charity is now warning that the NPS needs to be improved to fully address all the problems bees face.

For press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust

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