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Tories aim to block full EU ban on bee-harming pesticides

Move to block EU ban comes despite environment secretary Michael Gove saying, ‘I don’t want to water down’ EU protections

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.

Neonicotinoids 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.

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Primeval forest must lose Unesco protection, says Poland

Environment minister Jan Szyszko has called for Białowieża to lose its heritage status, saying it was granted ‘illegally’

Poland’s environment minister, Jan Szyszko, whom green activists have criticised for allowing large-scale logging in the ancient Białowieża forest, has called for the woodland to be stripped of Unesco’s natural heritage status, banning human intervention.

Białowieża, straddling Poland’s eastern border with Belarus, includes one of the largest surviving parts of the primeval forest that covered the European plain 10,000 years ago. It also boasts unique plant and animal life, including the continent’s largest mammal, the European bison.

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Norway issues $1bn threat to Brazil over rising Amazon destruction

Deforestation in the Amazon is increasing amid cuts to protection, putting Norway’s financial aid in jeopardy, says minister

Norway has issued a blunt threat to Brazil that if rising deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is not reversed, its billion-dollar financial assistance will fall to zero. The leaders of the two nations meet in Oslo on Friday.

The oil-rich Scandinavian nation has provided $1.1bn to Brazil’s Amazon fund since 2008, tied to reductions in the rate of deforestation in the world’s greatest rainforest. The destruction of forests by timber and farming industries is a major contributor to the carbon emissions that drive climate change and Norway views protecting the Amazon as vital for the whole world.

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Spending watchdog condemns 'risky and expensive' Hinkley Point

Damning report says nuclear project is bad for UK consumers and governments failed to assess alternative finance models

Generations of British consumers have been locked into a “risky and expensive” project by the UK’s subsidy deal for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, according to a damning report by the spending watchdog.

The National Audit Office said the contract sealed by ministers last September with EDF to construct the country’s first new atomic reactors in two decades would provide “uncertain strategic and economic benefits”.

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Farms hit by labour shortage as migrant workers shun 'racist' UK

A 20% shortfall in migrant workers relied on to pick fruit and vegetables is blamed on Brexit making the UK seem ‘xenophobic’

Farms have been hit with a shortage of the migrant workers that Britain relies on to bring in the fruit and vegetable harvests, according to a series of new reports.

There was a 17% shortfall in May, leaving some farms critically short of pickers, according to a new National Farmers Union (NFU) survey. The decline is blamed on Brexit, with the vote to depart the EU leaving the UK seen as “xenophobic” and “racist” by overseas workers, according to the director of a major agricultural recruitment company.

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