I care deeply about bees and would like to keep bees myself one day. Bees are not only fundamental to the security of our food supply but are crucial to maintaining the quality and diversity of our natural environment. They are an essential part of the British countryside and their drop in numbers is deeply worrying to me.
I do welcome recent government efforts to increase the understanding of bees so that they can be better protected, most recently through the National Pollinator Strategy.
The regulation of pesticides is decided on the European level, which currently rules that three of the five currently approved neonicotinoids are not permitted for use on a wide range of crops considered attractive to bees. The Government has implemented these restrictions in full. They are not time-limited, and will remain in place unless the European Commission decides to change them.
It is important that any changes made must be based on scientific research however. For this reason, I am glad that that the government has agreed to contribute fully to a review commissioned by The European Food Safety Authority. This research will focus on the science relating to neonicotinoids and bees, which is expected to conclude in the summer. This includes looking at the effects on bees caused by seed treatments, and uses of the restricted neonicotinoids that are permitted in emergency situations.
I can assure you that restrictions on neonicotinoids will not be removed if the evidence shows that they should remain.