Posted: 24/07/2015 at 16:30
Is it coincidence that today I received an email from my MP in reply to the one I sent him 5 weeks ago?
Thank you very much for your e-mail regarding bees and neonicotinoids and I apologise for the delay in responding to you.
I entirely agree with you that bees and other pollinators play a vital role in the security of our food supply and the quality of our natural environment. I welcome the work the Government has done over the last few years to understand and protect them, most recently through the National Pollinator Strategy.
Decisions on the approval of substances that can act as pesticides are made at the European level. Since December 2013, three of the five currently approved neonicotinoids are not permitted for use on a wide range of crops considered "attractive to bees". A number of other uses remain permitted. These restrictions are not time-limited, and will remain in place until and unless the European Commission decides to change them.
The Commission has begun a review of the science relating to neonicotinoids and bees. This will include looking at the effects on bees caused by seed treatments and uses of the restricted neonicotinoids in the form of granules on any crop. The Government will contribute fully to this review, and will base its view on future regulation of neonicotinoids on all the available scientific evidence.
I am aware that the Government has relaxed the ban on neonicotinoids and two neonicotinoid pesticides (the two that are permitted) can now be used for 120 days on about 5% of England's oilseed rape crop.
I will certainly be writing to the Environment Secretary, Liz Truss, to make representations about this as I am very aware of the public concern that neonicotinoids have generally on the bee population.