New report calls for ambitious pesticide reduction target

Report cover from The Wildlife TrustsThe report cites examples of farmers, communities, councils and charities that are boosting insect populations and proving that it can be done. 

The Wildlife Trusts are calling on the Government to reverse the decline of insects by:

  • Setting an ambitious pesticide reduction target, as good as, if not better than, the EU’s target to reduce by 50% the overall use of – and risk from – chemical pesticides by 2030;
  • No weakening of UK pesticide standards through future trade deals; and
  • Support for farmers to adopt insect-friendly farming practices.

The Wildlife Trusts believe that reversing the decline of insects is possible if:

  • A network of nature-rich areas is created covering at least 30% of the UK, and legally binding targets are set for nature’s recovery which are monitored and enforced;
  • Local councils prioritise green recovery and create more nature-rich places where insects can thrive and make cities, towns and parishes pesticide-free;
  • Everyone steps up to become an insect champion.

Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “In my lifetime, 41% of wildlife species in UK have suffered strong or moderate decreases in their numbers and insects have suffered most. This has had a huge effect on the rest of the natural world. The vital role that insects perform is undermined and everything that depends on them suffers, from hedgehogs to nightingales, wildflowers to wetlands.

“Current trade deals threaten to make a bad situation worse. It’s up to the Government to ensure we maintain our current environmental standards, not let them slip and jeopardise the wildlife we have left. The Agriculture Bill is a golden opportunity to set high standards in law and make sure insect-friendly farming practices are rewarded.”

Mr Bennett added: “We want to see an ambitious pesticide reduction target and at least 30% of land being managed for nature so that insects can become abundant once more. We’re calling on everyone to take action for insects and become an insect champion.”

Lead author of the report, Professor Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex says: 

“If we get it right for insects, we get it right for everything else. Insects are the canaries in the coal mine – their collapse is an alarm bell that we must not ignore. Action is needed from every section of society – we all need to change this together.”

The Reversing the Decline of Insects report can be downloaded HERE.

Published: 10 July 2020