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No change to pesticide regulations
bee pesticide neonicotinoid
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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Giant tortoise population recovers from brink of extinction

A population of endangered giant tortoises, which once fell to just 15, has recovered on the Galapagos island of Espanola.

Forty years ago, the first captive-bred tortoises were introduced to the island by the Galapagos National Park Service. According to new research, published in the journal PLOS ONE, they are now reproducing and restoring some of the ecological damage caused by feral goats that were brought to the island in the late 19th century.

James P. Gibbs, a professor of vertebrate conservation biology and lead author of the paper, said: "The global population was down to just 15 tortoises by the 1960s. Now there are some 1,000 tortoises breeding on their own. The population is secure. It's a rare example of how biologists and managers can collaborate to recover a species from the brink of extinction."