This weekend the Guardian and Independent both published a whopper of a story sure to set social media and MP’s casework inboxes alight; with claims Boris was to use Brexit to authorise the use of a “bee-killing pesticide banned in the EU” – neonicotinoid thiamethoxam – to treat sugar beet seed this year in an effort to protect the crop from a virus. Greta immediately leapt on the story:
UK government has announced “a bee-killing pesticide so poisonous that it is banned by the EU” may be used in England.
New coal mines and pesticides… the UK’s so called “green industrial revolution” is off to a great start.
Very credible indeed.https://t.co/R4o54ZEyvD
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) January 9, 2021
There was just one problem with the screeching Remainer environmental outrage: the pesticide is not banned in the EU and the UK was always entitled to use it pre-Brexit – with 10 EU countries also having issued emergency authorisations for the pesticide since 2018 including Belgium, Denmark and Spain. DEFRA makes it very clear: “The UK’s approach to the use of emergency authorisations has not changed as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU.”
British sugar beet yield in 2020 is expected to be down by 20-25% on previous years due to predation by aphids which have been spreading beet yellow virus:
“The temporary use of this product is strictly limited to a non-flowering crop and will be tightly controlled to minimise any potential risk to pollinators.”
Don’t expect blind, unverifiable Remainer anger to die down just because Brexit’s finally done and dusted…