Poll finds public want to keep EU pesticide rules

The British public are overwhelmingly in favour of keeping or strengthening EU rules that protect the natural environment a new YouGov survey for Friends of the Earth published today finds.

The environmental campaign group is calling on government to guarantee that its Brexit strategy won’t lead to a weakening of environmental protections. 

The YouGov survey found:

• 83 per cent said Britain should pass laws providing a higher (46 per cent) or the same (37 per cent) level of protection for wild areas and wildlife species than current EU laws. Only four per cent want lower protection.
• 57 per cent said British farming subsidies should put either more (25 per cent) or the same (32 per cent) emphasis on environmental protection than the current EU subsidies do. Only seven per cent said British farming subsidies should put less emphasis on protecting the environment. 

• 81 per cent want to keep an EU ban on neonicotinoid pesticides that have been found to pose a threat to bees, with only five per cent saying it should end.

The survey also found that those who voted to leave the EU were also strongly in favour of maintaining or increasing the protection for nature that is currently provided by EU legislation, and linking farming subsidies to environment protection.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Samuel Lowe said: "This survey sends a powerful message to the UK Government that EU rules aimed at protecting our natural environment must be maintained or strengthened.

"The poll completely undermines those who argue that Brexit should lead to a watering down of the UK’s environmental commitments. There is little public support for this - even from those who voted to leave the EU.

"The Government must also stand up to pressure from the NFU and keep the EU ban on bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides. This is what the science says, and the public demands."

The NFU said its expert was unavailable to comment on this poll, but the union has said: "The NFU remains committed to its lobbying for science-based regulation across the board and this very much includes the regulation which is restricting farmers’ use on plant protection products. Without many of these products, our ability to produce wholesome, affordable food for the nation, will continue to stagnate."

#An SCI conference on whether neonicotinoids are killing bees will be held on 22 September at 14/15 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8PS.

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