Goulson passes crowd-funding neonicotinoid garden centre plant research target

University of Sussex Professor Dave Goulson has raised twice what he asked for through crowd-funding platform Walacea to research neonicotinoid use on garden centre plants.

Goulson said on the crowd-funding platform, where he has reached more than £6,000 in pledges to help his work: "Through the funding so far we can sample plants from four gardening centres to test for the presence of neonics in a selection of plants – thank you to all the people who have supported this project so far!

"If we can raise enough funding we would like to test 100 different plants randomly selected from 10 garden centres which will cost a total of £8k. This will give us a really good picture of what's going on."

Pressure group 38 Degrees launched a campaign on the issue in 2015. In January, US grower Bell Nurseries said it had stopped using neonicotinoids under pressure from retailer Home Depot.

Goulson added: "One action we can all take is to grow bee-friendly flowers in our gardens, providing bees with much-needed nectar and pollen. If every gardener did this we could turn our suburban areas into giant bee nature reserves.

"Buying plants for bees has proved to be very popular, and most garden centres help by providing labelling to show which plants are best for bees. The Royal Horticultural Society has a special "Perfect for pollinators" label, with a picture of a bumblebee on it. Most bee-friendly flowers are also very pretty, so planting them has the added bonus of making your garden beautiful."

The Perfect for Pollinators logo has been questioned if it is used for plants grown with neonicotinoids.

Meanwhile, the Government's has rejected a second application by the NFU to allow farmers in some parts of England to use two banned neonicotinoid pesticides to control Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle on oils seed rape.

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