March of the beekeepers: Government urged to back pesticide restrictions

The Government must take urgent action to protect declining bee populations by supporting European Commission proposals next Monday (29 April 2013) to restrict the use of pesticides linked to bee decline, Friends of the Earth said today.

Later today Friends of the Earth will join other organisations in a rally calling on the UK Government to support restrictions on three neonicotinoid insecticides.

The March of the Beekeepers in Parliament Square is supported by Avaaz, Buglife, ClientEarth, Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Pesticide Action Network (PAN UK), RSPB, Soil Association, 38Degrees and The Wildlife Trusts.

Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns Andrew Pendleton said: “Ministers can’t ignore the growing scientific evidence linking neonicotinoid insecticides to bee decline. Their claims to be concerned about bee health will ring hollow if they fail to back European moves to restrict the use of these chemicals.

“An ever-growing number of the UK’s leading retailers and manufacturers are recognising the threat these products pose by removing them from their shelves and supply chains – the Government must now act.

“If we lose our bees and other vital pollinators it will have a devastating impact on our food, gardens and environment. We urgently need tougher pesticide restrictions and a British Bee Action Plan to tackle all the threats they face.”

Leading home and garden retailers have removed products containing the three neonicotinoid insecticides from their shelves following a campaign by Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign. Stores that have taken action include:

B&Q (321 UK stores)

Wilkinson (372)

Homebase (340 in the UK and Ireland)

Wickes (200+)

The Garden Centre group (129)

Dobbies garden centres (32)

Klondyke garden centres (24)

Notcutts garden centres (19)

Scats garden centres (18)

Squires garden centres (14)

Blue Diamond garden centres (14)

Hillier garden centres (13)

The Garden Store garden centres (8)

Over 160 MPs from all parties as well as the Co-op, the Women’s Institute and tens of thousands of individuals have backed the call for a Bee Action Plan