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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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Newborn okapi named after Meghan Markle

News Story 1
 An endangered okapi recently born at London Zoo has been named Meghan - after Prince Harry’s fiancé Meghan Markle - in celebration of the upcoming royal wedding. Okapis are classed as endangered in the wild, having suffered ongoing declines since 1995. Zookeeper Gemma Metcalf said: “We’re very pleased with how mother and baby are doing. Oni is being very attentive, making sure she regularly licks her clean and keeping a watchful eye over Meghan as she sleeps.” Image © ZSL London Zoo  

News Shorts
Pirbright awarded grant to research lumpy skin disease

The Pirbright Institute has received funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to research lumpy skin disease (LSD). The money will allow Pirbright scientists to study the genetic material of the LSD virus and identify key genes involved in causing disease.

Dr Pip Beard, leader of the Large DNA Viruses group at Pirbright, said: "It is extremely exciting to have been awarded this grant to discover which genes enable LSDV to cause disease. We will be leading the way for future researchers and enabling the development of better control and eradication measures to prevent further spread of this disease.”