Protecting the UK's bee population


Responding to the recent campaign on neonicotinoid insecticides and bees, Theresa Villiers thanks all constituents who have taken the time to email her about this issue. Setting out her views on the campaign, Theresa said:

“I very much agree with the many constituents who have contacted me about bees that pollinators play a vital role in the security of our food supply and the quality of our natural environment. The Conservatives have worked hard in Government over the last few years to understand and protect them, most recently through issuing our National Pollinator Strategy.

We are keeping the evidence on neonicotinoids under close, open-minded scrutiny and we will restrict their usage if the evidence shows this is needed. Our current assessment suggests that while we cannot exclude the possibility of neonicotinoids affecting bees in the field, this is not normally likely to occur; so the risk they pose to bee populations is low.

Decisions on regulation of pesticides are made at European level. Five neonicotinoids are currently approved for use the in the EU; but since December 2013, restrictions on the use of three of the five have been imposed by the European Commission in relation to a 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 UK Government will contribute fully to this review, and will base its view on future regulation of neonicotinoids on all the available scientific evidence.”