THE BLOG

Will Our Environment Minister Vote for the Bees or the Chemical Companies?

12/04/2013 14:53 BST | Updated 12/06/2013 10:12 BST

The sigh of relief was audible in the Saturday sunshine as they buzzed between blossom, bees returning to the hive coated - from head to toe - in yellow bounty.

Last weekend's clear skies brought brief respite from tough times. A wet sunless summer followed by a cold grey spring has left many hives starving. And to make matters worse they live under a government who is making their life harder.

Despite Europe's leading scientists agreeing the need to restrict the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides which science has shown harm bees, and political consensus in the UK that we should support their conclusion, our government continue to ignore the experts by opposing the ban.

It's ironic that as bees busy themselves maintaining life as we know it, pollinating one third of the food we eat and countless more plants and trees, our government sit on their hands and does nothing to protect them.

What are they waiting for? Are they lazy? Short-sighted? Or simply slow to catch-up?

Today's news that Waitrose are suspending the use of the three neonicotinoids in their supply chain is a ray of hope for the bees amidst predictably grey skies and gloomy headlines.

Later this month Owen Patterson, our Minister for the Environment, will get a second chance to vote on whether Britain backs a Europe-wide restriction on the use of neonicotinoids. Will he vote for bees or the chemical companies this time?

For the bees, I will be writing to my MP to tell them why I want them to put pressure on Owen Patterson to vote for a ban. I hope you will too.

As bees breath life into our landscape the least we can do is return the favour.