Letter to the Times, 27 April 2017
The following letter was sent to the Times in response to an article on neonicotinoids.

Sir,

In reference to your article (£18m on saving bees is ‘cheap’ April 27th), an £18m hit to the UK’s already vulnerable agriculture sector might be justified if it saved bees. But it isn’t, because it doesn’t.

The reality is that bee populations have been in decline since before the invention of neonicotinoid pesticides. It is a multi-factorial and complex issue. To cite one example, the UNDP  identify the most significant cause of honeybee declines as the impact of a parasitic mite - Varroa destructor, alongside a range of issues including habitat loss, agricultural and beekeeping practices and climate change. As the European Commission themselves admitted, the ban on neonics wasn’t introduced because they were the most significant factor affecting bee health, but the only one on which they could legislate.

Banning the use of neonicotinoids without addressing the other potential factors of bee decline not only harms farming and food production as Newcastle University has shown, but has and will do very little to improve the viability of bee populations.

Sarah Mukherjee,

CEO, Crop Protection Association

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