It has emerged that the government has permitted the emergency use of a pesticide, which could endanger the UK bee population.

The revelation has kindled the ire of celebrities and activists in recent days, such as the former Bake Off presenter Sue Perkins, who shared a petition calling on ministers to reverse the decision, and Greta Thunberg, who rightly pointed out that the EU has banned the bee-killing pesticide. The case against its use in the current context, however, is not so clear-cut.

British Sugar and National Farmers Union (NFU) Sugar petitioned the government for emergency use of the Cruiser SB pesticide, the active ingredient of which is the banned neonicotinoid thiamethoxam. They argue this was necessary because British sugar beets, which are grown commercially for sugar production, are being devastated by a disease called beet yellows virus (BYV).