Pow’s Pollinators

Yesterday, Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton addressed a written question on pollinators. In her capacity as Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs she waxed lyrical. Bees are safe in this government’s hands. She responded as follows: “Pollinators are a priority for this Government, and we are taking action alongside many partners to implement the National Pollinator Strategy’s provisions. We are addressing the pressures on wild and managed pollinators, restoring and creating habitat for them to thrive, raising awareness across society and strengthening the evidence base.

To manage pressures on pollinators associated with the use of pesticides, we operate a strict system of regulation, including a thorough risk assessment by our expert regulator, the Health and Safety Executive. Pesticides that pose unacceptable risks – including to pollinators – are not authorised. With the Devolved Administrations, we are also consulting on the revised National Action Plan for Sustainable Use of Pesticides. This lays out how we intend to support the uptake of integrated pest management, including to reduce risks to pollinators. Our Healthy Bees Plan 2030, published in November 2020, works to improve honeybee health through better husbandry and knowledge sharing.

We are sure the Under Secretary of State is a very busy lady. It was not doubt time pressure that prevented her adding more detailed information. Had more time been available she would have mentioned, we are certain, the decision she made on 13 January. That decision was to allow a pesticide to be used on a temporary basis to treat sugar beet. The pesticide contains neonicotinoids, which are poisonous to some birds, mammals and invertebrates. It is also known to kill bees. The pesticide is banned by the EU.

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