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Nia Griffith MP accused the UK Government of being irresponsible and failing to take proper action to reverse bee decline in a debate in the House of Commons this week.

Speaking up in the debate on the Environmental Audit Committee’s report ‘Pollinators and Pesticides’, Nia took the Government to task for failing to vote in favour of the EU-wide ban on neonicotinoid insecticides, a form of pesticide which studies have shown cause damage to the nervous system of bees. She pointed out that this constituted a failure to apply the precautionary principle:

“In this situation, given the truly devastating effects we stand to experience as a result of bee decline, it is the Government’s duty to act with appropriate caution, a duty it has utterly failed to recognise.”

She highlighted the severity of the problem of our declining bee populations, particularly given the threat posed to global food production, and expressed her dismay at the Government’s failure to take a leading role and support the ban on neonicotinoids:

“This is exactly the kind of action, given the far-reaching and potentially disastrous environmental and economic implications of bee decline, that we expect the UK to champion. That the Government did not decide to take a proactive, leading role on the use of these pesticides reflects very poorly on our attitude to environmental issues, and causes severe damage to the UK’s good reputation for diligence and responsibility regarding the environment.”

Nia urged the Government to make a ‘fresh start’ and to prove its commitment to tackling all the major causes of bee decline. She praised Friends of the Earth for their national campaign to raise awareness about bee decline, which has led to bee lovers across Wales taking action such as planting bee friendly seeds to improve bee habitats.

 Nia said,  “The Government must formulate and introduce a comprehensive Bee Action Plan to save threatened habitats, to promote bee-friendly farming and construction practices, and to give guidance to the public on how they can help to protect our nation’s vital pollinators.”

“I am delighted that the Welsh Government has recently published a draft Action Plan for Pollinators setting out comprehensive measures to help all bee species. I call upon the UK Government to do the same, and to commit to a Bee Action Plan to safeguard the future of our bees.”