Government urged to investigate pesticide links to bee decline

October 01, 2009

On the day that a new feature film, outlining the worrying decline in the honeybee population, is premiered, the Government is being urged to commission research into the effects some pesticides maybe having on nature’s most efficient pollinator.

Vanishing of the Bees”, which is being supported by The Co-operative in conjunction with distributors Dogwoof, explores the mysterious disappearance of bees across the planet and the fact that no one knows why their numbers are falling so rapidly.

Everyone attending the premiere in London today (1 October) or seeing the film when it goes on general release from 9 October is being asked to petition to Environment Minister Hilary Benn MP calling on him to fund research into the neonicotinoid family of chemicals which have been implicated in honeybee colony collapse.

Paul Monaghan, Head of Social Goals at The Co-operative, said:” The alarming drop in the number of honeybees and in turn the threat that has on our food supplies is very worrying and it is essential we discover what is happening and quickly.

“The finger of suspicion has been pointed at some pesticides and in particular, the use of neonicotinoids. This family of chemicals has been linked to honeybee declines elsewhere in Europe and that is why they have been restricted in Germany, France, Italy and Slovenia. However, very little independent research into their effects on bees has been carried out in the UK. “

“That is why we are calling for the Government, which earlier this year announced that it had put aside £10m to be used on pollinator research, to carry out a systematic review of the impact these pesticides are having on the well being of honeybees.”

Vanishing of the Bees” is the latest chapter in The Co-operative’s Plan Bee campaign designed to help halt the fall in the number of honeybees and raise awareness of the issue.  It tells the story of the worldwide decline in bee populations and explores the potential causes behind the losses.

Earlier this year as part of Plan Bee, The Co-operative announced that it was expanding its market-leading pesticide policy and temporarily prohibiting the use of all eight of the neonicotinoid family of chemicals on its own-brand fresh produce.

Video transcript – Vanishing of the Bees trailer