NFU Sugar has rejected claims made by environmental campaigner, George Monbiot, that it was ‘secretly lobbying the Government to allow neonicotinoid pesticides to be reintroduced after Brexit’.
This comes after an email the NFU sent to growers urging them to sign a letter to Government in support of an emergency application of Cruiser SB (thiamethoxam) dressed seed to be used next spring, was posted on Twitter.
Despite the application being reported in the media (FGInsight November 20), and similar applications being made in a number of EU member states, Mr Monbiot accused NFU of ‘secretly using Brexit as an opportunity to undermine food standards’ after the email asked growers to ‘refrain from making the letter public’.
In response to the claims, Michael Sly, chairman of NFU Sugar said: “The application is made under EU legislation and is similar to those granted in other EU countries and is unrelated to Brexit or future UK regulations.
“Because of the specific nature of the application, which relates solely and specifically to sugar beet, only sugar beet growers were invited to sign this letter explaining the terrible impact the virus is having on their crops. This was the reason the letter was not forwarded or circulated to a wider group.
“Virus yellows disease is having an unprecedented harmful impact on Britain’s sugar beet crop this year, with some growers experiencing yield losses of up to 80 per cent.
"The application was not made in secret; in fact, it was reported upon in the media three weeks ago."