Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th January 2021.

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Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Conservative, Totnes

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what safeguards he is putting in place to prevent the overuse of neonicotinoids.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government remains committed to the neonicotinoid restrictions put in place in 2018 to protect bees and other pollinators. We will only consider exceptions in special circumstances where emergency authorisation for limited and controlled use appears necessary because of a danger that cannot be contained by any other reasonable means and where the risk to people, animals and the environment is considered acceptably low.

The emergency authorisation that was recently granted for Cruiser SB (containing the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam) meets all these requirements. It only allows use on the 2021 sugar beet crop to address a serious threat from viruses transmitted by aphids. The use of this product will be tightly limited and controlled. A threshold of predicted disease level must be met before the use of treated seeds is allowed and the application rate of the product will be below the previously authorised commercial rate. There is also a prohibition on any flowering crop being planted within 22 months of the drilling of the sugar beet crop. This period is extended to 32 months for oilseed rape, which is attractive to bees and other pollinators.

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