(LONDON) Chemical Thiamethoxam Pesticide Report: Emergency use of the product has been authorised in England because of a virus which affects sugar beets #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Jan.19: A pesticide which can harm bees has been approved for use in 2022: After being banned by EU & UK in 2018:

#AceDailyNews says according to BBC News Beat Report: ‘Banned’ bee-harming pesticide approved for use, despite expert advice: Emergency use of a product containing the chemical thiamethoxam has been authorised in England because of a virus which affects sugar beets.

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In 2018, an almost total ban was put in by the EU and UK because of the serious damage the chemical could cause to bees.

The decision came despite expert advisers finding pollution from the pesticide would damage river life, and requirements for use had not been met.

But Environment Secretary George Eustice said product use would be “limited and controlled”.

Charities and campaign groups are angry at the chemical now being approved for use.

Yellow virus

As part of the government’s decision, Mr Eustice said thiamethoxam could only be used once a virus threshold had been reached, to ensure use “only if necessary”.

British Sugar successfully applied for an exemption to allow the banned pesticide to be used in England this year because of the threat posed by yellow virus.

Sugar beet is important for the production of sugar

There was controversy last year when ministers gave farmers approval to use the pesticide, though the cold winter meant it was never actually used.

Scientific studies have linked the use of these chemicals to the falling numbers of honeybees, wild bees and other animals which pollinate plants.

At the time of the ban, Michael Gove, who was the environment secretary then, said the UK was in favour as it couldn’t “afford to put our pollinator populations at risk”.

To minimise risks to bees, George Eustice says that farmers will be forbidden from growing flowering plants for 32 months after the sugar beet crop.

But he admitted it was not possible to “rule out completely a degree of risk to bees”.

‘Betrayal of promises’

The decision has been criticised by environmental charities.

The “farming system would collapse” without bees, RSPB senior policy officer Stephanie Morren says.

“Across England the wildlife we love is in decline, even the buzzing of bees in our farmlands and countryside is becoming quieter every year.” 

Matt Shardlow, CEO of Buglife, said it was “shameful” no action had been taken to make sure “bee and wildlife destroying pesticides are properly assessed as being pollinator safe”.

Bees are important in the process of pollinating plants

Joan Edwards, director of policy and public affairs at The Wildlife Trusts, said the move was “a clear betrayal of promises” made to protect the natural world.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Sandra Bell criticised the decision for going “against the recommendation” of their own experts.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the decision was “based on robust scientific assessment”. 

“We evaluate the risks very carefully and only grant temporary emergency authorisations for restricted pesticides in special circumstances when strict requirements are met.”

Why are bees important?

Milan Wiercx van Rhijn, from the charity Bees for Development told Newsbeat in 2021 insects play a vital role in the food chain – with around a third of the food we eat relying on pollination mainly by bees.

“If we kill the insects which are the starting blocks in the chain, we’ll kill the animals higher up,” he adds.

“It’s hard to grasp how much of an impact it’ll have on us.”

Research has found farm pesticides are killing more bees

He suggests alternative methods need to be found.

“Agriculture must be regenerative, and we cannot continue destroying the ecosystem on which we depend.”

“Future generations will be shocked that we ever considered using these toxins – we see already the catastrophic decline in insects and biodiversity.”

He advises a greater focus on having “strong, resilient bio-abundance” – which is letting things grow properly and “not cutting them down”.

“Keep your flowers growing in the spring, as that will have food for pollinators.”

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 weekdays – or listen back here.

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Jan.19: 2022:

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(ZURICH) JUST IN: Swiss citizens are voting in a referendum which could see their country become only the second in the world to ban synthetic pesticides #AceNewsDesk report

SWITZERLAND: Swiss voting in pesticide ban referendum: One initiative proposes to end subsidies to farmers who use such pesticides, while another one would ban them altogether within 10 years but farmers warn the proposals will put many of them out of business

Cattle grazes on pastures at Muottas Muragl, Switzerland. File photo
Switzerland is a byword for pristine nature – but environmentalists say that image is flawed


Supporters point to worrying levels of pesticides in water, and damage to plants, animals and insects.

Pesticides are chemical or biological agents used to control pests.

Voting is also taking place on Sunday on other initiatives: anti-terrorism legislation, a new tax on fossil fuels and emergency Covid-19 funding.

Switzerland’s system of direct democracy means all major decisions in the Alpine nation are taken at the ballot box.

Campaigners simply have to gather 100,000 signatures to ensure a nationwide vote.

‘Intense debate won’t go away’

If approved, the pesticide initiatives would go much further than the handful of towns and regions around the world that have already banned all synthetic pesticides. 

It would also be of greater global significance than the ban imposed by Bhutan in 2013, as Switzerland is the home of the world’s biggest pesticide manufacturer, Syngenta.

“I’m going to vote ‘Yes’ – we have to think about the future. Pesticides damage our health,” Geneva resident Marie Lenbaus said.

Both proposals are widely backed by young urban voters.

But Swiss farmers say they are already complying with some of the strictest rules in Europe. They have seen their jobs and income decline over the last 20 years, and now they are furious, the BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Bern reports.

“You find a lot of people, especially in the cities, they have not even a clue what farming means,” said Martin Haab, president of Zurich Farmers Association. 

“So, if they have two tomatoes in their garden in front of the window, they think they understand farming and they know how to do organic farming,” he said.

Switzerland’s farming lobby is strong, and the latest polls show they might just have the edge, our correspondent says. 

But she adds that even if voters reject a ban, this debate over pesticides has been so intense that it will not go away. Everyone agrees the country’s pristine environment must be protected – they just do not agree on how.

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Jun.14: 2021:

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