Thursday, February 12, 2009

UK co-op bans 8 pesticides to help bees

Plan Bee

by Rog Wood  

The Co-operative Group has become the first UK retailer to prohibit the use of a family of eight pesticides as part of a radical new 10-point plan to help reverse the worrying decline in the British honey bee population.

Launching Plan Bee, the Co-operative announced that it would expand its pesticide policy and temporarily prohibit the use of all eight of the neonicotinoid family of chemicals on its own-brand fresh produce.

These chemicals have been implicated in honey bee colony collapse and restricted elsewhere in Europe (although not as yet in the UK) as a precautionary measure.

Co-operative Food said it will engage with suppliers to eliminate use of the pesticides where possible and until such time as they are shown to be safe.

In addition, as part of its 10-point plan, the Co-operative will make available £150,000 for research into the decline of the honey bee, paying particular attention to UK farming practices, the impact of pesticides and the restricted gene pool bees are derived from.

In the spring of 2009, Co-operative Farms will begin a three-year research project aimed at identifying the optimal mix of wild flowers that can be sown (in field margins and on set-aside) to attract and support honey bees.

Co-op opts for Plan Bee to take sting out of declining population

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