The Government has been accused of failing to act on increasing evidence of the environmental damage done by "nerve-agent" pesticides, after France banned a pesticide product still widely in use by British farmers on their crops.
Cruiser OSR, which contains the neo-nicotinoid insecticide thiamethoxam, was banned for use on rapeseed by the French Ministry of Agriculture. Two studies, published earlier this year, have strongly suggested a link between the increased use of neonicotinoid pesticides and global declines in the populations of pollinating insects, including bees, which play a vital role in agriculture and international food security.
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is investigating the evidence in the separate studies – one by British scientists from the University of Stirling and the second by France's National Institute of Agronomic Research.
However, Caroline Lucas MP, leader of the Green Party, said that Defra was guilty of "stalling" in the face of mounting evidence of the pesticides' harmful impact.