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UK will no longer use bee-harming pesticide

Bee

A pesticide believed to harm bees won't be used in England, after it had been approved for temporary use in January.

The government had authorised the emergency use of a product containing the chemical thiamethoxam, because of a virus which affected sugar beet seeds.

But that protection won't be needed now, as the colder weather means there's less risk to the crop.

Sugar beet

Sugar beet is important for the production of sugar

In 2018, an almost total ban was put in by the EU and UK because of the serious damage the chemical could cause to bees.

Scientific studies have linked the use of these chemicals to the falling numbers of honeybees, wild bees and other animals which pollinate plants.

 
 

It now says some damage to the crop is still likely, but expected to be below the level at which the pesticide use is considered to be justified.

Why are bees important?

Milan Wiercx van Rhijn, from the charity Bees for Development was initially "disappointed" by the government's initial decision to allow the use of the pesticide.

He's "relieved" the pesticide won't be used, but remains concerned it was even an option.

"Agriculture must be regenerative, and we cannot continue destroying the ecosystem on which we depend," he tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"Future generations will be shocked that we ever considered using these toxins - we see already the catastrophic decline in insects and biodiversity."

The 32-year-old explains the insects play a vital role in the food chain - with around a third of the food we eat relying on pollination mainly by bees.

"If we kill the insects which are the starting blocks in the chain, we'll kill the animals higher up," he adds.

"It's hard to grasp how much of an impact it'll have on us."

 
 
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