West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris has slammed the Government for approving the use of a pesticide known to kill bees, saying the decision shows powers to ban the bee-killing substance should rest with him rather than Whitehall.

Thiamethoxam was banned in 2018 across the UK due to their devastating impact on bee populations and other pollinators. A single teaspoon of the chemical can kill up to 1.25 billion honeybees – equivalent to four lorryloads. Yet the Government has overruled its own scientific advisers by authorising an emergency exemption.

Mr Norris says the decision once again demonstrates the need for additional powers from Whitehall to control the use of bee-killing pesticides in the region, as is the case in Wales and Scotland.

He had previously has written to the Secretary of State for the Environment, George Eustice, in January requesting powers similar to those devolved to the Welsh Government where growers must apply for Senedd authorisation to use pesticides on Welsh farmland.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “Bees matter. They are essential to the future of our planet, to pollinating our crops and to the precious biodiversity that sustains our nation. The health of our bees is non-negotiable, and their decline poses a real threat to our region. That is why the Tory Government’s decision to ignore the advice of their own expert scientific advisers and authorise the use of this pesticide is so damaging. Enough is Enough. I once again the urge the Government to grant me the powers, similar to those in Wales, to decide locally whether pesticides are used in our region. This will important as we look to make the West of England the bee and pollinator capital of the UK”.

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