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No change to pesticide regulations
Neonicotinoid law remains unchanged, despite link to bee decline

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have announced there will currently be no changes to UK pesticide regulations, following a review into the effects of neonicotinoids.

The pesticide neonicotinoid has been linked to a fall in the UK bee population, with scientists claiming that it causes worker bees to stop providing food and eggs for larvae, bumblebees to restrict food supply to the hive, and honey bees to experience a breakdown in their navigational abilities.

In response, several studies from earlier this year were assessed by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate of HSE, an independent expert advisory committee on pesticides, bee experts in DEFRA's Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) and DEFRA's Science Advisory Council.

Though the report said the studies were "interesting", it was not believed that permitted neonicotinoid levels would have a serious effect on bee populations.

Friends of the Earth nature campaigner, Paul de Zylva, said: "The govenment's failure to act on neonicotinoid pesticides is astonishing - there is still a massive question mark over the impact of these chemicals in declining bee populations."

DEFRA have commented that they are carrying out additional research, however they believe the studies were either not carried out under field conditions, or neonicotinoid was used at a higher dose to that which is currently permitted.

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Pirbright student wins top award

News Story 1
 A student studying for his PhD at the Pirbright Institute has been honoured for his research on egg anti-viral proteins which could lead to a major step forward in vaccine production rates.

Tom Whitehead was named Young Innovator of the Year at the Guildford Innovation Awards on Wednesday (22nd February).

Working with scientists at The Pirbright Institute, Tom identified the family of antiviral proteins which generate the embryo's anti-viral immune response. His research demonstrated that restricting the activity of these proteins enables the levels of virus to increase.  

News Shorts
Collaboration to improve animal disaster preparedness in California

Animal rescue specialist Jim Green has joined the University of California Davis's Centre for Equine Health, for a one-year collaboration to support major advances in disaster preparedness. Recent weather conditions in California have led to declarations of emergencies in 50 out of 58 counties and there is growing concern about pets and livestock safety in light of increased wildfires and floods.

Disaster plans are in place for human and property safety but UC Davis says there is a critical lack of funding and standardisation for animal disaster planning. Mr Green has created and implemented programmes for the UK Fire and Rescue Service, to educate and integrate first responders and vets. He will coordinate with the university and local and state emergency response stakeholders in California.