[Valerie Vaz in the Chair] — Neonicotinoids on Crops

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:37 pm on 7th December 2015.

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Photo of Danny Kinahan Danny Kinahan UUP, South Antrim 5:37 pm, 7th December 2015

I certainly congratulate the West Lothian Beekeepers Association. I know there are many such organisations. In Northern Ireland, we have a huge apple-growing, cider-making county in County Armagh, so we know the importance of pollinators.

The petition hardly touched Northern Ireland. I did not have more emails about bees than about Syria over the weekend, but it was pretty close. There is massive interest in the bees issue, but sadly not many people knew about the petition. All of us—including Northern Ireland, Ireland and Scotland—need to work together and learn from one another. There is an all-Ireland strategy; we need to learn from that, and I need to find out more about it.

We need to look at all the other things that affect bees, right the way through to the husbandry and how we all work. I would like to see the all-party group up and running, with us all being part of it, and the Minister using it as a way to sound people out and hear different concerns and ideas. That is the way forward. This is a wonderful thing to be part of. It is nice to have something from Northern Ireland that is not orange or green; if I can make a really bad joke, we did have B Specials, but they are extinct.