The sugar industry has been secretly lobbying the Government with the National Farmers Union, to get them to authorise the use of the highly damaging neonicotinoid thiamethoxam for the treatment of sugar beet seed in 2021. The Government has bowed to the pressure and agreed.
This is an emergency authorisation. Unfortunately with climate change set to increase the frequency of warmer and wetter winters in the UK, boosting the number of aphids which spread the sugar beet virus, there is a significant risk that this emergency authorisation becomes a common occurrence, and the UK could see the return of routine application of neonicotinoid pesticides.
Farmers should not have to choose between farming and nature. We want farmers to be supported to adopt non-chemical alternatives that are proven to support nature long-term.
Read our full statement
Our Action for Insects campaign is a response to the catastrophic decline of insect populations. Our 2019 report, Insect Declines and Why They Matter, included evidence of the loss of 50% or more of our insects since 1970, and the shocking reality that 41% of the Earth's remaining five million insect species are now 'threatened with extinction'. It's essential that there is a halt to the unnecessary use of pesticides where people live, work and farm, with support for all sectors to make the transition towards becoming pesticide-free.