East Anglia’s sugar industry says EU pesticide ban will damage beet yields
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014
East Anglian farmers have warned of 'significant impacts on sugar beet yields' following the EU's decision to extend the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides.
The controversial chemicals were already banned for flowering crops like oilseed rape, after concerns were raised about their potential impact on the health of bees and other pollinators – although the National Farmers' Union (NFU) maintained there was not enough scientific evidence to justify a ban.
But now the ban for three neonicotinoids – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam – has been extended to all outdoor crops following a vote by EU member states.
The move was welcomed as a major victory for wildlife campaigners, but farmers and processors have voiced concern over the viability of the staple East Anglian sugar beet crop when the new measures come into force following a phasing-out period of around eight months.
NFU Sugar board chairman Michael Sly said: 'NFU Sugar is extremely disappointed by the decision to extend the ban on the use of neonicotinoids to sugar beet.
'We believe it is a regrettable decision that is not justified by the evidence available. The ban will have far-reaching impacts on beet growers as there are currently no sustainable alternatives to neonicotinoids. As a result, it is likely there will be significant impacts on sugar beet yields in the UK, exacerbated by our maritime climate that enables significant pest and disease pressure.
You may also want to watch:
'Farmers are acutely aware of the crucial role bees play in food production and take extensive measures to provide habitats for wildlife on their farms. However, there is a real risk that these restrictions will do nothing measurable to improve bee health while compromising the effectiveness of crop protection. As a matter of urgency, the home-grown sugar industry will now be working with the government to try and secure solutions for beet growers ahead of the 2019 crop.'
READ MORE: Ban on 'bee-harming' neonicotinoid pesticides extended to all outdoor crops after EU votePaul Kenward, Managing Director of British Sugar added: 'This is an extremely disappointing decision reached by the European Commission that will impact the UK beet sugar industry disproportionately. We are working with the British government as a matter of urgency to try and secure solutions for beet growers ahead of the 2019 crop so that our farmers can maintain sustainable and productive harvests'.
'We believe the ban will disproportionately impact beet growers as there are currently no alternatives for farmers to use, and it will do nothing to improve bee health whilst compromising the effectiveness of crop protection.'
- 1 Norfolk's first mass Covid vaccination centre to open in food court
- 2 Norfolk wakes up to snow with more expected to fall
- 3 'Anti-social rider' has quadbike seized in the snow
- 4 Drivers face non-essential travel fines after spate of snow crashes
- 5 Stunning images capture Cromer in the snow
- 6 Londoners fined for travelling to stay at second home in Norfolk
- 7 Government must step in to help 'desperate' Norwich hospital, says MP
- 8 Are you in our Norfolk school photos from the 1970s?
- 9 Jailed in Norfolk: Burglars, domestic abuse and threats to kill
- 10 Man in 20s dies and three hurt as Audi crashes into wall