[Valerie Vaz in the Chair] — Neonicotinoids on Crops

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:50 pm on 7th December 2015.

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Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Transport) 4:50 pm, 7th December 2015

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. Bees are the gift that keeps on giving to parliamentarians.

I understand farmers’ concerns. Local farmers have explained to me that they have lost crops when they have not been able to use such pesticides. But taking a wider view, there is no really compelling evidence showing widespread crop failure since restrictions on neonicotinoids were introduced. In fact, the 2014 DEFRA report found that in the immediate aftermath of the banning of neonicotinoid pesticides in 2013, the net yield for rapeseed actually increased by 16%. Furthermore, bees have a crucial role to play in improving crop yields and quality. A decline in pollinators as a consequence of neonicotinoids will paradoxically harm the very crops that farmers are trying to protect, and many farmers appreciate that fact.