The UK is collaborating in peddling the corporate line that neonicotinoid pesticides are safe to use – they are anything but.

In April, the Observer published a letter sent by the minister in charge of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Owen Paterson, to Syngenta, which manufactures some of these pesticides. Paterson promised the company that his efforts to prevent its products from being banned “will continue and intensify in the coming days”.

The people who should be defending the natural world have conspired with the manufacturers of wide-spectrum biocides to permit levels of destruction which we can only guess. In doing so they appear to be engineering another silent spring.