Ministers have given the go-ahead for farmers to use a banned bee-harming pesticide in England for the second year running.
The government went against the advice of its own scientific advisers, who said they did not see the justification for applying the neonicotinoid to sugar beet this year.
Neonicotinoids are considered so harmful that they were banned by the UK and the EU in 2018, but since then 12 countries, including France, Denmark and Spain, have also granted emergency permits for neonicotinoid treatments to go ahead.
This time last year there was an outcry when ministers first gave beet farmers the green light to apply the pesticide, although eventually it was not used because a cold winter killed off the aphids.
Wildlife experts warned the decision “sounds a death knell for millions of bees and other insects” and flies in the face of government pledges to halt biodiversity loss.