Friday, 15 March 2013

A SILENT SPRING WITHOUT BEES?

Kent Green Party notes that the European Parliament has failed to support a ban on pesticides known to be harmful to our declining bee populations. Dr Hazel Dawe, Campaigns Officer of Kent Green Party, comments:

"I am a very keen gardener. In my garden, bees are my allies in the pollination of plants. But each year there are fewer bees and I am moving more pollen around myself with a paintbrush  doing the job that bees used to do. Some insecticide products have been increasingly implicated in the decline of honeybees over the past decade, and there is serious concern that they pose unacceptable risks to wild bees and pollinators. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of food worldwide, 71 are pollinated by bees(1).

"Last year, EFSA, the European Food Standards Agency, had identified significant flaws in regulatory risk assessment guidelines for testing pesticides on honey bees, and highlighted a need for consideration of wild bees within the regulatory system(2).

"Despite the accumulated evidence, the European Parliament has failed to ban pesticides that harm bees in a recent vote. Kent Green Party urges the public to write to their MEPs to get them to re-open this issue immediately. I do not want to walk into my garden sometime soon and be confronted by a silent Spring(3)."

Ends c233 words

FURTHER INFORMATION: Dr Hazel Dawe, Campaigns Officer, KENT GREEN PARTY, on 079444 71083 or 01732 355185. Contact address as above. Promoted by H.Dawe for Kent Green Party, both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF. KENT GREEN NEWS, free ezine, is available by subscription at www.kentgreenparty.org Dr Dawe holds a Kent Wildlife Trust Gold Award for having a garden appropriate for encouraging wildlife and beneficial insects, like bees. Research work primarily by Zoe Hall, Green Party Press Officer, Green Party of England and Wales.
Notes:
1.      EFSA: Bee health http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/topics/topic/beehealth.htm and see also Keith Taylor, Green MEP for Kent, on this issue: http://www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/2013/03/12/greens-urge-uk-government-to-suspend-use-of-pesticide/
2.      Scientific Opinion on the science behind the development of a risk assessment of Plant Protection Products on bees (Apis mellifera, Bombus spp. and solitary bees) http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/2668.htm
3.      See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/15/bee-harming-pesticides-escape-european-ban This result has left environmental campaigners, scientists and Green politicians bitterly disappointed. The vote failed to reach the required majority. Green MEPs across Europe had written to every nation's environment minister to garner support. Further information: EU Regulation 1107/2009 (Annex II, 3.8.3.) states: "An active substance, safener or synergist shall be approved only if it is established following an appropriate risk assessment on the basis of Community or internationally agreed test guidelines, that the use under the proposed conditions of use of plant protection products containing this active substance, safener or synergist: will result in a negligible exposure of honey bees, or has no unacceptable acute or chronic effects on colony survival and development, taking into account effects on honey bee larvae and honey bee behaviour." Also relevant on this topic: EFSA identifies risks to bees from neonicotinoids http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/130116.htm?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=infocus&utm_campaign=beehealth & Neonicotinoid Pesticide Reduces Bumble Bee Colony Growth and Queen Production  Whitehorn et al, Science 20 April 2012: 351-352.Publ: 29 March 2012 [DOI:10.1126/science.1215025] &  Chemicals Regulation Directorate "DATA REQUIREMENTS HANDBOOK"- Version 2.2, June 2012 &  "Behaviour of Imidacloprid in Fields.Toxicity for Honey Bees"; Bonmatin et al.

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