OLDHAM Council's Liberal Democrat opposition leader Howard Sykes has slammed the government for authorising the emergency use of a bee harming pesticide.

Neonicotinoid thiamethoxam, which was banned in 2018 by the EU and UK due to the serious damage it causes to bees, has been permitted for emergency use this year to protect sugar beet seeds from a virus that reduced its production last year.

Scientific studies have long linked the use of neonicotinoid thiamethoxam to the decline of bees which play a vital role in the food chain. It’s estimated around a third of the food we eat is dependent on pollination mainly by bees.

Cllr Sykes said: “Conservationists are clear that the use of this pesticide will threaten not only bees, but also wildflowers and the human population itself as water courses could be contaminated.”

“It is notable that the ban on neonicotinoids which applies across Europe has been lifted here in Britain as one of the very first acts of this Conservative Government upon leaving the European Union.

“Taking back control clearly means in this case contaminating your own country, destroying the eco-system and further damaging the already fragile bee population of Britain.”