Bad news for bees
Back in July the Government made the shocking decision to allow farmers to use bee-harming pesticides – even though the pesticides are banned across the EU.
Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, we operate a small but successful legal team who were able to mount a legal challenge (1). So in August we applied to take the Government to court.
After lengthy delays to the case – and lots of waiting around for the Government to hand over important documents – we’ve finally had a decision from the High Court. But I’m afraid it’s not good news for bees.
The judge did not dispute that there was a clear public interest in ensuring that rules are properly followed. But she refused permission for a full Judicial Review of the decision, instead she ruled that sufficient advice and evidence had been presented to the Government for its decision to be lawful (2).
It’s a disappointing result but all is not lost. There are still lots of ways you can help bees where you live.
Although we think the Court’s ruling is flawed and ignores important facts (3) there are positives to be found from taking our case to the High Court. We’ve uncovered a layer of secrecy around how decisions like this are taken. And the extent to which the Government’s decision depended on evidence presented by pesticide firms for the use of their own products is now very clear.
We’ll be keeping a close watch on the Government over the coming months. It must ensure complete transparency when it deals with the new requests to use neonicotinoids we expect will be made next year.
And we’re certainly not ruling out further legal challenges in the future.
There’s still plenty we can all do for Britain’s bees so thank you again for your continuing support.
Siôn and the Bee Cause team
(1) We believe that the Government did not meet the requirements set out in European law when it allowed the use of two neonicotinoid pesticides on oilseed rape crops in parts of England this autumn.
This requires that it should be in response to an emergency, that it should be limited and controlled and that it couldn’t have been dealt with by any other reasonable means.
(2) It’s important to note that the judge wasn’t making a ruling about the scientific evidence that neonicotinoids harm bees – that’s stronger than ever.
(3) Ways of protecting crops without chemicals – such as encouraging beneficial insects which prey on the crop pests – don’t seem to have been properly considered.