Dead bee near skull & bones sign saying: danger pesticides keep out no entre

Dead bee near skull & bones sign saying: danger pesticides keep out no entre

By Chris Bovey

The husband of a Conservative MP and head of a British sugar beat company said he is “very happy” with the reversal of the EU ban on bee-killing pesticides, describing it as a “good decision”.

Paul Kenwood, Managing Director of British Sugar, the UK’s sole producer of sugar beet and medicinal cannabis successfully lobbied the government to lift an EU ban on neonicotinoid thiamethoxam, a pesticide linked to the large-scale, long-term decline in wild bees across England.

A major report published in 2018 concluded neonicotinoid pesticides represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees.

Green groups warned Bees would suffer from Brexit, which the Leave Campaign dismissed as ‘project fear’.

The government had previously pledged to keep the EU imposed restrictions on all outdoor uses of thiamethoxam.

In 2018, Michael Gove, then the Environment Secretary, said: “The weight of evidence now shows the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our £100bn food industry, is greater than previously understood … We cannot afford to put our pollinator populations at risk.

“Unless the evidence base changes again, the government will keep these restrictions in place after we have left the EU.”

Bee protection plans thwarted

However, ten days into Brexit and already they want to kill off pollinators on which one-third of our food depends.

For a long time, British Sugar has tried to thwart the EU ban on pesticide that bees can consume in nectar and pollen.

In response to failed efforts to stop the ban in 2018, Mr Kenward wrote on British Sugar’s website: “This is an extremely disappointing decision reached by the European Commission that will impact the UK beet sugar industry disproportionately. We are working with the British Government as a matter of urgency to try and secure solutions for beet growers ahead of the 2019 crop so that our farmers can maintain sustainable and productive harvests”.

Dodgy connections

Paul Kenwood and British Sugar have previously been under fire for favourable decisions by the government and dodgy links to the Conservative Party.

It was revealed the Home Office gave Kenwood’s company license to set up a 45-acre cannabis farm in Norfolk while his wife, Vitoria Atkins MP, was a Drugs Minister.

British Sugar’s grows the cannabis for GW Pharma, which former Prime Minister Theresa May’s husband profits from producing expensive cannabis-based medicines that are almost impossible to obtain on the NHS.

During her tenure as Drugs Minister, Atkins also faced harsh criticism for political vetting after she blocked the appointment of Niamh Eastwood, the executive director of the drugs charity, to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). This incident led to the resignation of Prof Alex Stevens, a senior member of the ACMC.

Photo of environmentalist and cannabis campaigner, Indigo Hawk

MS patient and environmentalist, Indigo Hawk

Sting in the tail

Multiple Sclerosis patient, Indigo Hawk, an environmentalist who lobbies the government to allow legal access to cannabis to treat his condition said: “I’ve been asking the government to allow me to legally consume cannabis to help with the pain and lack of energy associated with Multiple Sclerosis, but it falls on deaf ears, yet it seems if you are married to a Tory MP you can get away with murdering bees.

“This really does leave a sting in the tail for nature-lovers and environmentalists who were promised that Brexit would not mean the scrapping of nature protection laws. I hope a bee stings Mr Kenwood on the bum.”

An online petition calling on the government to stop the UK from allowing EU banned bee-killing pesticide from being reintroduced reached 40,000 signatures within one day. You can add your name to the Save the Bees petition at

Chris Bovey, writer and musician.

Chris Bovey is a businessman, writer, artist, musician and practical joker. He lives in Devon with his partner, two children and cat. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter @ADHD_BadBoy.

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