UK Bee Population

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:00 pm on 14th November 2017.

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Photo of Huw Merriman Huw Merriman Conservative, Bexhill and Battle 5:00 pm, 14th November 2017

My hon. Friend makes a key point. I would perhaps use the APPG’s position change to advocate that the NFU comes with us.

Friends of the Earth was most annoyed, quite frankly, that the APPG was not tending absolutely to the view that neonicotinoids are bad and should be banned conclusively. Our view was that we should wait for field-based research to conclusively show that that is the case. I believe that such field-based research has now come through with these two studies, and therefore it behoves the NFU to take the same approach. As has been pointed out, the farming industry is worth £100 billion. Farmers should embrace the need to protect pollinators, because they effectively are the start of production. It is time the NFU came with us.

It is also right that we continue to follow science and see if there is any scientific evolution with regard to neonics to fix the bad impacts that currently exist. We should never close the door to that, but it behoves the NFU to get behind the latest viewpoint and move forward. That would delight Friends of the Earth.

I should also say, in the 20 seconds remaining, that I am the champion for one of the solitary bees that is alive and well in Gatwick. I am not sure that that will further the cause of my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond Park in terms of which airport should be expanded, but I am sure that bee will continue to survive in Gatwick.

I welcome the Government’s change of approach, and the APPG is very much with the Government’s change of direction.