Good news for bees and trees, bad news for moths, and the climate change threat according to the National Trust.

Bee-killing pesticides will not be used in the UK

A pesticide which reduces bee populations and was to be used in England’s sugar beet fields this year will not be used after recent cold weather killed off virus-transmitting aphids.

The government gave emergency authorisation earlier this year to a product containing the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam, sanctioning its outdoors use this year because of the threat posed by a virus after pressure from the National Farmers’ Union and British Sugar.

The decision sparked an outcry and the threat of legal action against the government. But the environment secretary has now said the threshold for its use was not met after modelling indicated only 8% of the sugar beet crop was likely to be infected with the virus yellows disease this year.

Studies show neonicotinoids harm pollinators and aquatic life, and that they can contribute to serious biodiversity decline. Research also suggests they weaken bees’ immune systems, harm the development of baby bees’ brains and can leave them unable to fly. Another study has found honey samples being contaminated by neonicotinoids.

For more information, see the full article in the Guardian.

Woodland Trust emergency tree fund to benefit Cornwall

The Woodland Trust has created a £2.9m “emergency tree fund” to help councils plant more trees and create green spaces. Cornwall Council has been awarded £293,965, as part of the scheme, which will help the Trust to achieve its mission of establishing 50 million more trees by 2025.

The funding coming to Cornwall will help to fund the Forest for Cornwall, aiming to create 8,000 hectares of woodland over the coming years.

See the Woodland Trust press release, and an article in the Independent.

Britain’s moths declined by a third in 50 years

A new report by the Butterfly Conservation charity shows that the numbers of moths have declined dramatically over the last 50 years. The declines of 39% in the abundance of larger moth species over southern Britain and a 22% fall across northern Britain add to the picture of calamitous declines in flying insects in the industrialised world.

“This decline is worrying because moths play a vital role in our ecosystems,” said Richard Fox of Butterfly Conservation, which produced the report with Rothamsted Research and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. “They are pollinators of many plants, with some wildflowers, such as orchids, relying on visiting moths for reproduction. They also provide essential food for thousands of animal species, including bats and many familiar birds.”

You can read the full report on the Butterfly Conservation website, and a good article about it on the Guardian website.

The impact of climate crisis on National Trust sites

The National Trust has launched a ‘worst case scenario’ map, showing the impact of climate crisis on its UK properties and land.

The National Trust has developed what it has described as a “game changing” map that illustrates threats the climate crisis poses to some of its most iconic and culturally significant sites – and how they might be tackled.

Using existing data from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and plotting it across the various properties, monuments and coastlines the charity manages will allow it to understand the likely local impact of factors including extreme heat and humidity, flooding, landslides, coastal erosion and high winds.

The map works to a worst-case scenario of no intervention on emissions, and is intended to act as a “flagging tool”, to highlight potential hazards at the trust’s sites.

This will then help the organisation pinpoint locations where interventions are required.

It is fascinating to see where the areas of risk are now, and in 40 years time if no action were to be taken, and should act as a warning to other landowners to take action. You can see the map on the National Trust’s website, and read more in the Independent.