Bees under threat from ‘hard Brexit, anti-red-tape’ Tories, says Green MEP

Brexit could prove disastrous for bees, Molly has warned. While the EU Commission is poised to extend a ban on controversial neonicotinoid pesticides, Tory MEPs are seeking to block such a ban. Conservative ministers have also previously sided with the National Farmers Union who are keen to continue using neonicotinoid, widely blamed for sharp declines in bee numbers across the globe.

In 2015, the then Farming Minister, George Eustice, lifted an EU ban on neonicotinoid pesticides under an “emergency authorisation” claiming there was “a lot of ambiguity” about the evidence. However, a recent UN report was scathing about neonicotinoids and deeply critical of the agri-chemical corporations that manufacture pesticides. It accused giant manufacturers such as Bayer and Syngenta of the “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions”. Molly said:

“The EU is presenting us with a great opportunity to rid Europe of these hugely harmful and totally unnecessary pesticides that have had such a devastating effect on bee populations. Consumer pressure and undeniable scientific evidence has brought us to this point.

“But it will come as no surprise to anyone that the powerful agri-chemical corporate lobby and NFU have the ear of Conservative ministers and MEPs. Also, the hard Brexit, anti-red-tape brigade inside the Tory Party cannot wait to sweep away what they see as interfering rules; regulations that actually protect our wildlife, including essential pollinators like bees. 

“With Brexit negotiations starting today, I will continue to do all I can to defend crucial environmental regulations from attack by corporate giants and complicit politicians.”