The Sunday Herald can reveal that an insecticide called thiacloprid will continue to be used to protect oil seed rape and potatoes from pests. This is one of a group of nicotine-based chemicals implicated in the drastic declines in bee populations reported in recent years.
The European Union has banned the use of three of these neonicotinoids from today, but has omitted to include thiacloprid. Though its manufacturer, the German chemical giant Bayer, insists it is safe, environmentalists point to scientific studies showing it makes honey bees more vulnerable to disease.
In 2012 thiacloprid was sprayed on 11,488 hectares of potatoes and 1,134 hectares of winter oil seed rape in Scotland. According to the Scottish government, its use is now “likely to increase”.
The prospect alarms environmental groups, who are calling for the chemical to be banned. The “loophole” that exempts it from the European restrictions should be closed, they say.