Press comment in response to today’s study from the University of Reading

09 May 2013


The Soil Association agrees with the report commissioned by Friends of the Earth that the main reasons honey bees, wild bees and other pollinators have declined so badly is because of dramatic changes in our countryside in the past 60 years, and that the main causes include "Intensification of grazing regimes, an increase in pesticide use, loss of biodiverse field margins and hedgerows, the trend towards sterile monoculture". 

Because they represented such a huge increase in the spread of insecticides, by being present in the whole plant for its entire life, systemic neonicotinoids have to be banned.  But on their own, as Friends of the Earth say, that will not be enough to save our bees and other pollinators, and as this report warns other causes of the losses have to be dealt with.

Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, said:
 “All of the farming changes this report cites as causes of bee and wild pollinator losses would be reversed by increasing organic farming – which encourages wild flowers over the whole farm not just in margins, avoids almost all pesticides, and requires diverse cropping not monocultures.  In a country like Austria, one fifth of all farming is now organic – the fate of our bees would be transformed if one fifth of the UK was farmed in this bee friendly way, and everyone can help by adding some British organic food to their shopping list.”

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