I came across this talk on TED recently. I think it offers a huge amount of hope if this sort of practice can be achieved in the worlds most barren places, but I couldn’t help wonder about our own more local moorland and if this technique of intensive grazing would bring back some of our lost forests?
B&Q and Wickes are banning products containing pesticides linked to the decline in bee populations. Photograph: Haraz Ghanbari/AP
The retailers will remove products containing neonicotinoids, which are linked to the decline in the bee population
Two of the UK’s biggest home improvement retailers have pledged to remove products from their shelves containing pesticides linked to the decline in the bee population.
B&Q and Wickes, two of the best known names in garden centres and DIY, said on Tuesday they would remove products containing neonicotinoids. These chemicals, commonly used as pesticides, have been suspected for years of harming bees, but were identified this year as having a devastating effect on the pollinators.
B&Q is banning the only product it sells containing imidacloprid, one of the neonicotinoid family of insecticides, and Wickes will later this year take off products containing the related thiamethoxam compound.
Along with a third compound, clothianidin, these are the three neonicotonoids identified by the European Food Safety Authority as threatening serious damage to bees.
The move by the retailers comes in response to long-running campaigns from various environmental organisations, who have warned of the links between the pesticides and bee deaths for some time, as studies have suggested links before the EFSA gave its final damning verdict.
There will now be increased pressure on other retailers still stocking the products to follow suit.
The UK govermnent’s advisory committee on pesticides is urgently examining the new evidence of harm to bees from the use of certain commonly used insecticides, with a view to recommending possible changes to the current regulatory regime governing their use.
Bayer, the German company that manufactures many of the products concerned, will answer questions before the committee on Wednesday in parliament.
Andrew Pendleton, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth, said: “We are delighted [the two retailers] are withdrawing these pesticides. Other retailers must follow suit and take action to protect our bees. The spotlight now falls on the UK government. Ministers must help safeguard our beeds by immediately suspending the three pesticides identified by European food safety scientists, and ensuring farmers have safe alternatives. Declining bee numbers are a real threat to food production.”
He called on David Cameron to intervene: “The prime minister must introduce a national bee action plan.”
The Soil Association has also campaigned strongly for pesticides to be reviewed in the light of the precipitous decline of bee populations, and has this year begun to “name and shame” companies involved.
Bee health has been a concern for several years, as populations of the pollinators have been under threat from a variety of sources, including the spread of the deadly parasite, the varroa mite, and intensive farming. The role of pesticides was much disputed, but the landmark pronouncement by the EFSA has found that there is an undeniable link between their use and the death of bees, giving added strength to campaigners.
(Many thanks for Laura Chadwick for proposing this piece, and for her passion in saving our bee colonies.)
You may be aware that Primrose Lodge, the long neglected wooded and watery area which runs along Woone Lane and Primrose Lane, has recently been designated as the first biodiversity offsetting site in Lancashire; it has also been declared a biodiversity heritage centre, and RVBC’s countryside officer David Hewitt appeared in various local publications explaining how the council planned to work together with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust to preserve and enhance this area.
What you may not be aware of is the fact that this area was previously under threat and was saved largely due to the efforts of local people, who formed The Friends of Primrose Lodge. You may also not know that Transition Town Clitheroe has been in conversation over the past two years with RVBC officers as to how best make use of the land for the benefit of local wildlife and also residents.
We have put forward ideas about energy generation by means of an Archimedean screw , cycle tracks and walkways through the woods avoiding the increasingly dangerous road, and the possibility of an area for workshops- composting, woodland crafts, plant identification, rustic furniture making and the like. In short we have a vision for the place which RVBC seemed to share.
However, in spite of the biodiversity status, there is a planning application ( No 3/2011/1064 Mearley Croft) requesting that 32 affordable homes be put on the site, including three storey buildings at the top of the lodge in the most useable area.
RVBC countryside officers do not see this as a problem. Members of TTC have visited the site, discussed with local councillor Allan Knox, scrutinised the plans and see that this is indeed a problem.
If you would like to read the letter that TTC has sent to members of our local planning committee, outlining our concerns and suggesting a scaled down development, click on the following link
In case you would like to send your own letter to RVBC’s planning committee ,we have provided a sample letter for your convenience
If you have any further questions on the Primrose Lodge development and why TTC are working to ensure that it is is taken forward in as sustainable manner as possible, email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on this site.
You can also contact the LCC, RVBC and Town councillor for Primrose Ward, Cllr Alan Knox, whose details can be found on RVBC website, where you can also find full details of the application
Click on the link below for some good organic gardening tips
We are well on with planting the windbreak along the A59 with willow cuttings. By the autumn we should have good protection for the site, about three metres high, so long as the voles and rabbits don’t chew the bark and kill them off. Willow grows fast and will soak up some of the damp which will help the site which has been waterlogged with all the rain of December and January.
We are using mycorrhizal fungi when we plant which brings nutrients for the willows from the soil in exchange for sugars which help them extend their network in the soil. Magic! More…