Control of Pesticides etc.

Part of Orders of the Day — Food and Environment Protection Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 3:46 pm on 26th June 1985.

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Photo of Dr David Clark Dr David Clark Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Education) 3:46 pm, 26th June 1985

I beg to move amendment No. 25, in page 15, line 41, at end insert— '(ff) provide for the payment of compensation to beekeepers who incur financial loss as a result of the use of pesticides;'. This amendment tries to create a statutory compensation scheme for beekeepers who incur financial loss by using pesticides. In Committee and on Report we have spent many hours talking about birds. It is perhaps appropriate that we are now talking about bees. They are very much affected by the misuse — I emphasise the word "misuse"—of pesticides.

Bees are a valuable national asset. They provide us with a considerable amount of honey and serve a useful agricultural purpose. It is therefore in the interest of nobody that bees should be killed by pesticides. Nevertheless, there are about 36,000 colonies of bees in this country and according to the Beekeepers Association there are between 100 and 200 incidents each year of bees being affected by pesticides. About 1 per cent. of beehives are affected each year by pesticide poisoning. We ought to try to reduce it and, if it occurs, we ought to be able to offer compensation to the beekeepers. Aerial spraying in particular is responsible for poisoning bees and causing most of the damage.

Another cause for concern is the increase in the cultivation of oilseed rape. If oilseed rape is incorrectly sprayed, many more bees die. We are aware that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food issues guidance to both beekeepers and farmers each year and urges the farmers to keep to a code of conduct.