PESTICIDES linked to the decline of bees have been banned from council owned land

Councillor Ros St Pierre has managed to get East Sussex County Council to agree to a ban by referring to an EU ban on the use of neonecotinoids.

Cllr Ros St Pierre, who is the Liberal Democrat Councillor for Ringmer and Lewes Bridge, said: “I was delighted (and somewhat surprised) to have unanimous support for my motion which resulted in an undertaking that no neonecotinoids will be used on ESCC owned land now or in the future.

“At the moment the EU ban on this pesticide holds, but it is to be reconsidered by David Cameron in December. Thus agreement to a ban regardless of the decision by national government was very important.”

The UK government has always argued that neonicotinoid pesticides do not threaten bees. Instead it has suggested high honeybee losses in recent years are due to the parasitic varroa mite which spreads viruses, and wet summers that prevent bees from foraging.

But in 2013 the pesticide was banned across Europe for two years until further tests were completed.

Cllr Ross St Pierre added: “The county council has massive land holdings which include the Ashdown Forest, Seven Sisters Country Park, a number of commons including Chailey and Ditchling, Rye Harbour and lands currently tenanted for grazing.”

“Although some of the Districts and Boroughs have adopted a ban, I think this was the first time there was cross party support (following a lively debate) of a large Local Authority.”

She also expressed her hope that other councils across might follow suit and take action to protect the nation’s bees. “As a Liberal Democrat I am proud to have led the call to save our bees in East Sussex. Let’s hope other councils follow”.