Friends back bee-friendly farming pledge

    A FARMING family’s commitment to helping Britain’s threatened bees has been welcomed by Friends of the Earth.

    Claire and Guy Eckley have pledged not to use three controversial honey bee-harming pesticides; imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, on their oilseed rape crops – even if current EU restrictions, introduced in 2013 but now under review, are lifted.

    Their farm, situated near Staplehurst, is one of seven highlighted by Friends of the Earth in its new Bee-friendly Shopper’s Guide to Rapeseed oil.

    Friends of the Earth bee campaigner Nick Rau welcomed the couple’s commitment to bee-friendly farming. He said: “We’re delighted Eckley Farms is standing up for Britain’s bees by pledging not to use these three bee-harming pesticides on their oilseed rape crops. They deserve our support.

    “We hope more farmers and producers follow their lead and say no to these neonicotinoid pesticides. The scientific evidence of the threat they pose to our bees is now overwhelming.

    Claire Eckley, said: “Bees are suffering a perfect storm of challenges at the moment, from climate change and habitat destruction to pests. More work needs to be done on the effects of these pesticides on bees, but let’s give them the best chance we can by avoiding their use on oilseed rape.”