Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 19 September 2023.

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Photo of Rosie Duffield Rosie Duffield Labour, Canterbury

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to help ensure councils have the necessary funding to tackle the presence of Asian hornets.

Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Asian hornet is a Non-Native Invasive Species which could have a significant impact on honey bees and wild pollinators if it were to become established in the UK.

For this reason Defra and Welsh Government developed the Asian hornet contingency plan which outlines the government response and what actions will be taken when incursions of Asian hornet occur.

The response to Asian hornet is delivered by the National Bee Unit (NBU) - part of the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

We have taken contingency action against all credible sightings of Asian hornet that have been reported in the UK since the first occurred in 2016. As of 12th September 2023, the NBU have located 43 Asian hornet nests this year.

So currently there is no requirement for local councils to take action against Asian hornets. Nevertheless raising awareness is a key aspect of the response so if local councils are made aware of Asian hornets in their area we would ask them to report it through the Asian hornet app or online. By ensuring we are alerted to possible sightings as early as possible, we can take swift and effective action to stamp out the threat posed by Asian hornets.

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