2011 - Pollinators (Answered)

Mrs Anne Main
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the efficacy of the national pollinator strategy in protecting the bee population; and whether it is her policy that the ban on harmful pesticides will remain.

George Eustice

The National Pollinator Strategy is a 10 year plan which sets out a framework for collective action to protect pollinators on farmland, towns, cities and the countryside, and to enhance the response to pests and disease risk. The Strategy also seeks to raise awareness of what pollinators need to thrive through a call to action message. (www.wildlifetrusts.org/Bees-needs).

As set out in the Strategy, our work over the next five years to develop the evidence base will allow us to identify pollinator trends with greater certainty, so that we can assess progress with our outcomes and identify where further action should be taken. An important component of the strategy is the creation of high quality habitats for pollinators. The strategy builds upon Biodiversity 2020, under which we have placed 67,000 hectares under management for creation of new priority habitat, bringing benefits including to pollinators by providing them with food, shelter and nest sites.

Neonicotinoids are a group of chemicals used as active substances in pesticides. Decisions on the approval of pesticide active substances are made at EU 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 under the EU approval. The UK has implemented the restrictions in full. These restrictions remain in place until and unless the European Commission decides to change them.