NFU adviser questions neonics research plan

Any research on neonicotinoids used on plants grown for sale in garden centres will not "answer the critical scientific question of whether or not neonicotinoids are actually responsible for any widespread decline in pollinator populations", according to NFU chief horticulture adviser Dr Chris Hartfield.

University of Sussex Professor Dave Goulson has raised more than £6,000 in pledges, double his target, through crowdfunding platform Walacea to research neonicotinoid use on garden centre plants. Friends of the Earth pledged £3,000 and the HTA said it would also pledge.

Goulson said: "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. If we can raise enough we would like to test 100 different plants randomly selected from 10 centres, which will cost a total of £8,000. This will give us a really good picture of what's going on."

He added: "I think that if you are going to sell plants as 'perfect for pollinators' they shouldn't contain insecticides. I've no idea why we are behind the US - perhaps because no one previously thought to look into it in the UK."

But Hartfield said: "I don't think the work proposed will give us anything like 'a good picture of what's going on'. The work sets out to find whether or not neonicotinoids can be detected in garden centre plants. As far as I can see it is not attempting at all to answer the critical scientific question of whether or not neonicotinoids are actually responsible for any widespread decline in pollinator populations. It would be a shame if any results were just used to irresponsibly scare the plant-buying public and demonise garden centres."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

As the British apple season begins, English Apples & Pears (EAP) is warning that growers will feel the effects of both a late frost in spring and also constrained labour supply.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Tractors for growers

Tractors for growers

The latest specialist tractors are providing wider choice for growers working in narrow rows, Sally Drury reports.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon