Bee Harming Pesticides, Will the UK become an Environmental Blackhole after Brexit?

Tories aim to block full EU ban on bee harming pesticides

Conservative politicians are trying to stop a complete EU ban on bee harming pesticides, despite the new environment secretary Michael Gove’s statement earlier this week, in which he said “I absolutely don’t want to water down” EU environmental protections.

Bee Harming PesticidesNeonicotinoids are the world’s most widely used insecticides but have been banned on flowering crops in the EU since 2013. However, the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) found in 2016 that use of the pesticides on all crops poses a high risk to bees. As a result, the European commission has proposed a ban on all uses outside greenhouses, first revealed by the Guardian in March.

On Thursday, an attempt by the Conservative MEP Julie Girling to block the full ban will be voted on by the European parliament’s environment committee. Most of the UK’s environmental protections derive from the EU and since the Brexit result many green groups have been concerned that these could be weakened after Britain leaves the EU.

Gove gave reassurances on Monday, telling BBC Farming Today: “We need to maintain, and where possible enhance, environmental and animal welfare standards. We have a strong position and good track record in both of those areas and I do not for a moment want to see either of them diluted or eroded.”

The Guardian asked the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if Gove backed Girling’s attempt to block the pesticide ban. A spokeswoman did not answer directly but said: “The government has fully applied restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids introduced by the EU. We make all decisions on pesticides based on the science.”

Matt Shardlow, at the conservation charity Buglife, said: “Conservative politicians have repeatedly led the charge to face down measures to restrict harmful pesticides. Buglife would like to see a clear commitment from the Conservatives that after Brexit our environment and health will be in safe hands. It is time to start listening to the people and respecting the experts.”

Martin Dermine, from Pesticide Action Network Europe, said Girling’s arguments against the full ban were no different to those put forward by the pesticide manufacturers: “Such a similarity between an MEP’s work and the industry’s arguments is shocking. Bee-killing neonicotinoids should never have been authorised and it is more than time to ban them.”

Girling said there was no link between her and the pesticide industry: “I just happen to agree with them on this issue. I believe that the sustainable use of pesticides is a vital part of providing safe and affordable food production.”

The MEP said she agreed with Gove’s reassurances: “His statements do not support policy which seeks to ban all pesticides indiscriminately.”

Graeme Taylor, from the European Crop Protection Association, said: “The size of the toolbox available to farmers to allow them to produce is being constantly depleted by decisions that are based on fear and misinformation rather than fact, and without consideration of the consequences for European agriculture.”

In a debate in the European parliament environment committee on Wednesday, Girling was challenged by a commission official Klaus Berend. He said arguments over whether widespread harm to bees had been proven or not missed the point of the EU regulations: “The principle of the regulation is that safe use must be demonstrated, not the other way around.” With Efsa finding high risks to bees, Berend said: “There is no other choice for the commission than to act.”

The idea that pesticides are essential to feed a fast-growing global population was declared a “myth” in March, in a report by UN food and pollution experts. It severely criticised the global corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of the “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions”.

In April, a major study found virtually all farms could significantly cut their pesticide use while still producing as much food, and that chemical treatments could be cut without affecting farm profits on more than three-quarters of farms.

Damian Carrington, the Guardian

See  Bees: To Bee or not to Bee and the Survival of Mankind from Brendan Palmer’s  personal Blog

Posted in: Business, Environment, News

GDPR Protection of Personal Data from 25th May 2018

General Data Protection Regulations, GDPR

One year from now the EU General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR will come directly into force across the EU. This is a “Regulation” so therefore it does not need individual Member State transposition into national laws, it applies automatically and immediately.

The aim if the regulation
It allows European Union (EU) citizens to better control their personal data. It also modernises and unifies rules allowing businesses to reduce red tape and to benefit from greater consumer trust.

The general data protection regulation (GDPR) is part of the EU data protection reform package, along with the data protection directive for police and criminal justice authorities.

Key Points

Citizens’ rights
The GDPR strengthens existing rights, provides for new rights and gives citizens more control over their personal data. These include:

Easier access to their data
including providing more information on how that data is processed and ensuring that that information is available in a clear and understandable way;

A new right to data portability
making it easier to transmit personal data between service providers;

A clearer right to erasure (‘right to be forgotten’)
when an individual no longer wants their data processed and there is no legitimate reason to keep it, the data will be deleted;

Right to know when their personal data has been hacked
Companies and organisations will have to inform individuals promptly of serious data breaches. They will also have to notify the relevant data protection supervisory authority.

Rules for businesses

The GDPR is designed to create business opportunities and stimulate innovation through a number of steps including:

A single set of EU-wide rules
a single EU-wide law for data protection is estimated to make savings of €2.3 billion per year;

A data protection officer
responsible for data protection, will be designated by public authorities and by businesses which process data on a large scale;

businesses only have to deal with one single supervisory authority (in the EU country in which they are mainly based);

EU rules for non-EU companies;
companies based outside the EU must apply the same rules when offering services or goods, or monitoring behaviour of individuals within the EU;

Innovation-friendly rules
a guarantee that data protection safeguards are built into products and services from the earliest stage of development (data protection by design and by default);

Privacy-friendly techniques
such as pseudonymising (when identifying fields within a data record are replaced by one or more artificial identifiers) and encryption (when data is coded in such a way that only authorised parties can read it);

Removal of notifications
The new data protection rules will scrap most notification obligations and the costs associated with these. One of the aims of the data protection regulation is to remove obstacles to free flow of personal data within the EU. This will make it easier for businesses to expand;

Impact assessments
Businesses will have to carry out impact assessments when data processing may result in a high risk for the rights and freedoms of individuals;

SMEs are not required to keep records of processing activities, unless the processing is regular or likely to result in a risk to the rights and freedoms of the person whose data is being processed.


Data Security and the regulation covering the GDPR does not end when you are no longer using the storage media that contains the data. It is important to make certain that your GDPR implementation strategy includes a process for dealing with end of life data storage media.

This is where Electronic Recycling can help. We have been managing secure data destruction since 2009 check out our Data Destruction page.

If you have responsibility for the GDPR implementation, give us a shout, we take that responsibility seriously.

Reference: EUR-Lex, Access to European Law 

Posted in: Business, Data Security, GDPR