WILDLIFE : Pesticide powers ‘must be devolved’

Queen bee 1
Queen bee 1 (Photo credit: quisnovus)

 

 

 

Powers to ban pesticides should be devolved because of dwindling bee populations, environmentalists have said. The Guardian reports 

 

The Welsh government has now published its draft plan for turning around the pollinators‘ dwindling numbers.

 

Ministers say they want more effort to link flowering habitats across the countryside, from gardens to farms, especially given that pollinators are worth up to £430m a year yet have seen their population drastically decline.

 

Among the plans are ensuring farming schemes protect pollinators more often, promoting pollinator-friendly gardening and issuing best practice guidance to Wales‘s 22 local councils.

 

The director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, Gareth Clubb, says he welcomes the scheme but that real power lays in Westminster‘s hands.

 

“The Welsh government’s draft pollinator action plan, in response to ourBee Cause campaign, is very welcome and shows real leadership. However, the power to ban pesticides lies in Westminster, not Cardiff Bay, and the Welsh government must discuss devolution of these controls immediately if we are to have decent protection for Welsh bees,” he said.

 

“With wild bees in particular struggling across Britain, it’s essential that David Cameron’s government acts too. The UK administration must follow the forward-thinking Welsh government’s lead with a bee action plan and support restrictions on neonicotinoid pesticides linked to bee decline.”

 

Wales’s natural resources minister, Alun Davies, said the decline in pollinators posed a “real threat to Wales’ wildlife” and could also affect the country’s capacity to produce food.

 

He said: “We know that estimates put the value of pollinators to the UK at over £430m per annum and that they provide a vital ecosystem service.

 

“However, despite this, pollinator populations have been on the decline for the last 30 years and if we do not take prompt action this trend will continue.

 

“There has been a great deal of interest in our work to protect pollinator populations in Wales. The draft action plan sets out our vision for the best way forward and I would urge anyone with an interest to consider the content of the plan and feed back their comments.

 

“Pollinators are vital to our future health and wellbeing so it is important that we all work together to get this plan right.”

 

 

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