French government leads the way in banning the use of pesticides harmful to bees in their towns and cities

In a recent article published by The Guardian highlighting the link between the use of pesticides in private gardens and the number of birds visiting those gardens, reference was made to how the French government has banned the use of harmful pesticides in its towns and cities throughout the country.

In France there is recognition of the scientific evidence that certain pesticides – chiefly neonicotinoids – are not only an unacceptable risk to birds, but bees and other pollinators when sprayed on plants to combat pests like aphids.

Now here in the UK, studies have revealed that gardens free from pesticides and managed without the use of slug pellets, are visited by higher numbers of birds than those gardens sprayed with pesticides and controlled with poisons.

Other positive factors were cited in the article such as creating a wildlife pond, but it doesn’t come as a great surprise that nature thrives in a garden that is free from the use of dangerous and harmful chemicals.

Not what we want, but what we need

When considering that many gardens have been kept pristine and unnaturally sterile for the sake of aesthetics by keen, British gardeners for generations, perhaps we should now start to ask ourselves, not what we’d prefer – immaculate gardens and manicured parks – but what is it that we and the environment really need?

Here in Birmingham, we are asking Birmingham City Council to stop the use of pesticides in our city parks and green spaces, ban the use of peat, and fully adopt organic growing methods. We also think it is important that residents are consulted and fully involved when decisions are made about the management of their local parks and communal spaces.

Time to act

Birmingham is twinned with several cities around the world, including Lyon in France. If our friends in France can demonstrate the willingness and desire to ban pesticides that are harmful to bees and that risk the health of its citizens, there is no good reason not to expect the same reaction from our own Government and councils, too.

As the numbers of some of our native species of birds sharply fall, and those of bees and other insects continue to decline alarmingly, inaction is no longer an option. We all have to play our part in helping the planet to heal and thrive again.

There are natural alternatives to pesticides when attempting to control pests and diseases in your garden. And if you live in Birmingham, we encourage you to sign our petition calling on Birmingham City Council to join the growing number of councils in the UK that have already stopped the use of dangerous and harmful pesticides in their parks and green spaces.

Written by Jolyon Walford