A BEE KILLING insecticide banned for general use in the EU is to be reintroduced into the UK after Cornish MP and environment secretary George Eustice agreed for its use on sugar beet after pressure from the National Farmers' Union.

The Wildlife Trusts tweeted: “Bad news for bees: The Government has bowed to pressure from the National Farmers Union to agree the use of a highly damaging pesticide.

“The government know the clear harm that neonicotinoid pesticides cause to bees and other pollinators and just three years ago supported restrictions on them across the European Union.

“Insects perform vital roles such as pollination of crops and wildflowers, and nutrient recycling, but so many have suffered drastic declines.”

The trusts added that evidence suggests the world has lost at least 50 per cent of insects since 1970, and 41 per cent of insect species were now threatened with extinction.

“We need urgent action to restore the abundance of our insect populations, not broken promises that make the ecological crisis even worse,” it said.

On April 27 2018, member states of the European Union agreed upon a total ban on neonicotinoid insecticide use, except within closed greenhouses.

Last year the French MPs did vote to give special compensation to allow French sugar beet business owners to coat sugar beet seeds with the pesticide but not on the actual crops.

Somerset County Gazette: George Eustice MP has given the go-ahead for its useGeorge Eustice MP has givent he go-ahead for their use

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, run by George Eustice, Conservative MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, said it was putting in restrictions to minimise the threat to bees. It said Sugar beet is a non-flowering crop and the risks to bees from the sugar beet crop itself were assessed to be acceptable.

They said that sugar beet factories, mainly in the East of England, recognised that risks could be posed to bees from flowering weeds in and around the crop and proposed to address this with the use of industry-recommended herbicide programmes to minimise the number of flowering weeds in treated sugar beet crops.

"This is considered to be acceptable and the applicant recognised that the persistence and mobility of neonicotinoids in soils could result in residues with the potential to cause unacceptable effects to bees in following crops," it said in a statement. "Measures were proposed to mitigate the identified risks through the exclusion of flowering crops in subsequent cultivations.

"The Secretary of State is satisfied there is sufficient evidence to indicate that residues of thiamethoxam and its metabolite deteriorate over time, and that with mitigation measures in place the risks are considered to be acceptably low enough that the benefits outweigh them. Conditions are attached to the emergency authorisation to ensure that no flowering crops are planted as following crops for a period of at least 22 months, with an extended period of exclusion for oilseed rape (of 32 months), to minimise the risk to bees."

In 2017 Michael Gove wrote that it would be 'irresponsible' to use these pesticides and that 'the government will keep these restrictions in place after we have left the EU'. At the time the Government supported restrictions on them across the European Union.

A petition launched on Change.Org following the announcement has already nearly collected its 10,000 signatures on its first day. The petition says: "To reverse the decline of insects and allow them to thrive once more, we urgently need to stop all routine and unnecessary use of pesticides and start to build a nature recovery network by creating more and better connected, insect-friendly habitat

"Now we have left the EU the British government will be allowing EU banned pesticides Neonicotinoid Thiamethoxam to be used on crops. This pesticide is lethal to bees and other pollinators which our environment desperately needs to pollinate flora and fauna. Bees alone pollinate 3/4 of all British crops, which makes the use of this pesticide incredibly counter-intuitive."