Pesticide pollution

Last week, SCGP members joined Waveney Green Party, Together Against Sizewell C and attendees from as far away as Norwich, at a talk on Water and Pesticides.

Organised by Suffolk Coastal Friends of the Earth, the presentation was given by Will Akast of the Environment Agency (EA).

The audience heard about the EA’s measures to tackle water pollution. Soil run-off, for example, is a particular problem in areas with light soil like East Anglia. In 2016, five neonicotinoids (acetamiprid; clothianidin; imidacloprid; thiacloprid; and thiamethoxam)  were detected in the River Waveney.

The EA’s solutions have included reed treatment, buffer strips and riverside tree planting. Will spoke about benefits for tourism and the economy of creating wetland habitats, and how trees bring increased biodiversity and invertebrates (a food source for fish), as well as some improvement to oxygen levels from shade, which keeps water temperature low.

Pesticides are a problem not just agriculturally but domestically, with chemicals used on horse paddocks and allotments, and in chemical paints, timber treatments and even pet flea collars.

Will’s message was that we as we navigate Brexit, agriculture is at an important crossroads. Encouragingly, he suggested that farmers are open to taking consumer demands on board.

It is to be hoped that neonicotinoids will soon be a thing of the past. The EU ban on clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam is a step forward.

But British Sugar, NFU Sugar and, it was reported, local company Tate and Lyle, oppose the ban.

Talking to our food producers and supermarkets, campaigning for organic and sustainable food production and pressuring our MPs is incumbent on all of us.

If you want to act, join us at our next meeting on Monday 2nd July in Woodbridge Library at 7pm.

Or take a look at these links for more info:

Pesticide Action Network UK

Soil Association

Suffolk Coastal Friends of the Earth

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