XR Demands Change from British Sugar

Today activists from Extinction Rebellion held a demonstration at the British Sugar factory site at Wissington in West Norfolk. 7 members attended the site with banners and placards to raise the issue of the climate and nature impacts the business has.

We want to highlight that British Sugar is the highest carbon emitter in West Norfolk and the company’s role in supporting the use of the banned neonicotinoid pesticide ’thiamethoxam’. We want to hold them to account for what they’re doing, and ask what their plan is to repair the harm.

Despite being banned across Europe, British Sugar has repeatedly and successfully sought permission from the government to use the insecticide thiamethoxam, a “neonicotinoid” (often referred to as “neonics”) which is known to harm bee populations. At a time when nature is under great pressure, particularly vital pollinators like bees, British Sugar is putting profits ahead of planet by using neonicotinoids.

Also British Sugar’s Wissington site is the largest emitter of CO2, the greenhouse gas most responsible for global heating, in our borough of West Norfolk. The company is also the third largest emitter in the whole of Norfolk – topped only by a gas plant and an incinerator. Not only that, the most recent data (2019) shows their emissions are higher than they’ve been in the last ten years. Greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut drastically to meet climate change targets but British Sugar is heading in the wrong direction.

We have written to British Sugar three times to ask about their plans to address this but have not received a response. As local people, we feel we have a right to hold these massive companies in our area to account for their harmful practices.