UK Bee Population

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:30 pm on 14th November 2017.

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Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Conservative, Cheltenham 4:30 pm, 14th November 2017

We must not move from the frying pan into the fire. It seems that the Government have been absolutely robust in showing that it is only those products that can show they do not cause that collateral damage that will get through the net. That principle must be maintained, because pollinators are in decline worldwide.

This is not purely a UK situation or indeed a European one. The trend is not uniform, but an independent review of the evidence on the status and value of pollinators published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs back in 2014 drew attention to the large losses caused by the varroa mite in the early 1990s. Since then, there has been, as has been said, the Asian hornet. Indeed, the loss of flower-rich habitat is another important cause of the recorded decline in diversity of wild bees and other pollinating insects. If I may be parochial just for a moment, that is just one of the reasons why I am so delighted that Cheltenham Borough Council was persuaded to rethink its plans to rip up the vibrant and diverse floral displays that nourish local pollinators in the town.