Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Charles Kennedy (Ross, Skye and Lochaber, Liberal Democrat)
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consideration her Department has given to the effects of neonicotinoids on bee populations; and what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of current regulations on neonicotinoids in preserving the size of bee populations.
Richard Benyon (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Natural Environment and Fisheries), Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Newbury, Conservative)
Bee health is influenced by a number of factors, particularly pests and pathogens, environmental impacts, nutrition, the weather and, in the case of honey bees, bee husbandry. All pesticides are subject to a risk assessment, which includes effects on bees, and are not authorised if risks are found to be unacceptable. Government scientists also rigorously assess published research reports on neonicotinoid insecticides with an open mind. We continue to consider the implications of all new published information, including two new studies (Henry et al and Whitehorn et al) published on
The regulatory system for pesticides is comprehensive and is constantly updated to ensure that it continues to protect people and the environment. For bees, new data requirements will explicitly include studies to address the possible risks to bee behaviour, colony survival and development and to consider possible sub-lethal effects. The independent European Food Safety Authority has just produced a scientific opinion on the EU bee regulatory risk assessment and will produce a new guidance document on the bee risk assessment for member states to follow in authorising pesticide products. UK officials are closely involved in these developments.