Soil Association’s 66th AGM looks towards ban on neonicotinoids
01 November 2012
The Soil Association AGM will hear today that the continued use of neonicotinoid pesticides is resulting in the decline of honey bees and other pollinators. Soil Association members from across the UK will gather at the 66th AGM held in London on 31 October 2012 to hear plans to ‘Keep Britain Buzzing.’
Tomorrow (2 November 2012) marks the formal closing of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into Insects and Insecticides. The Soil Association has submitted evidence to this enquiry and will continue to campaign for a ban on neonicotinoids.
Since 1946, the Soil Association has recognised the dangers of excessive and unquestioning reliance on chemicals in agriculture. But unfortunately, the situation persists.
Neonicotinoids were first used in agriculture in the mid-1990s - exactly the time when mass bee disappearances started occurring. The Soil Association is calling for a ban on neonicotiniods through its Keep Britain Buzzing campaign.
Many parallels can be drawn between the situation now and that of 50 years ago when Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring was first published - challenging agriculture’s growing reliance on chemicals and spotlighting the pesticide DDT as a key agent in the silencing of nature.
Yet even as populations of birds in the UK were crashing as Silent Spring predicted, the UK government supported chemical companies’ contention that there was insufficient evidence to ban DDT. Irrefutable evidence that DDT caused the thinning of birds’ eggs, which led to the death of the chicks inside, eventually came, but only after three decades of mounting evidence.
There is no question that bees (and other pollinators) are in decline; there has been widespread concern for some time. Scientists are now revealing that even very low doses of neonicotinoids can disrupt bee behaviour in catastrophic ways.
The evidence against these chemicals is strong enough that they have been banned or suspended in France, Germany and Italy – but not yet in the UK.
To find out how you can support the Keep Britain Buzzing campaign click here.