THE Wildlife Trusts including Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have explored a legal challenge to a decision to allow the use of a bee killing pesticide. 

Today, The Wildlife Trusts’ lawyers contacted the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, to question his decision to allow the emergency use of the banned neonicotinoid Thiamethoxam for sugar beet. 

The trusts believe the action may have been unlawful and are planning a legal challenge to the decision unless Government can prove otherwise.

In 2018 the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides refused a similar application because of unacceptable environmental risks and the trusts contend that no new evidence has been provided to support this decision and the ban should stay.

Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: "Where’s the new evidence that it’s ok to use this extremely harmful pesticide?

“Using neonicotinoids not only threatens bees but is also extremely harmful to aquatic wildlife because the majority of the pesticide leaches into soil and then into waterways.

"Worse still, farmers are being recommended to use weedkiller to kill wildflowers in and around sugar beet crops in a misguided attempt to prevent harm to bees in the surrounding area."

Over 56,000 people have signed The Wildlife Trusts’ petition in the last few days to ask the Prime Minister to overturn the neonics decision.

Sugar beet farmers who will be allowed to use seeds dressed with the pesticide will be preparing for this year’s crop shortly, and the trusts are seeking a response from George Eustice as a matter of urgency.