[Valerie Vaz in the Chair] — Neonicotinoids on Crops

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 7th December 2015.

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Photo of Ben Howlett Ben Howlett Conservative, Bath 4:30 pm, 7th December 2015

I beg to move,

That this House
has considered e-petition 104796 relating to the use of neonicotinoids on crops.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Madam Chairman, and may I wish you a very happy birthday? [Hon. Members: “Hear, hear.”] Whoever said I was a suck-up?

Neonicotinoids are more easily referred to as neonics. As a dyslexic, I will use that phrase for ease. Neonics are a class of pesticides used on crops to control pests such as aphids and grubs. The petition, which received more than 90,000 signatures, was prompted by the effect that neonics have on pollinators in the UK, specifically bees. The petition states:

“Neonicotinoids, especially seed treatments of imidacloprid and clothianidin on arable crops, have become of increasing concern to beekeepers and bee researchers in recent years with many of them suspecting that they may be connected to current bee declines. These concerns have led to partial bans on the use of some neonicotinoids for specific crops in several European countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia. Bees are already facing sharp declines in their numbers and need help.”

The EU placed a ban on three types of neonics just over two years ago. However, attention was returned to the issue when the Government permitted limited use of the substances as an emergency measure.

I want to discuss the importance of bees before continuing to discuss neonics, the EU approach and the recent permission granted by the Government for some farmers in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.