Last week some MPs focused on Bee-killing Pesticides

Last Wednesday Morning a group of MPs met up together in the Westminster Hall to discuss some petitions and their calls which are focusing on Bee-Killing Pesticides and also the reduction in Bees in our Nation. The MP who organised the debate was Luke Pollard who is the Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP who is a member of the Labour Party. The other MPs included my MP Caroline Lucas who is the Green Party MP. The debate that took place can be obtained from here. The first comment from Caroline Lucas was

I congratulate the hon. Member on securing this debate. Brighton also has lots of lovely bee-friendly verges and so forth. Are we not just asking the Government to implement their own approach? Yesterday in their environmental improvement plan, they said that they wanted to put nature friendliness at the heart of all their policies. How is that coherent with the decision taken a few days ago? If the Government want to be consistent, they need to look again at the decision on bee-killing pesticides.

Later on in the debate when a Government Minister Mark Spencer from the DeFRA was speaking Caroline responded with this statement which is very significant

The Minister will know that, since 1970, the UK has lost 50% or more of our insects. Whatever he is saying to us this morning, I do not think he is saying that risk is completely absent; he is balancing risks. Where does the precautionary principle come into his analysis and assessment, given that the risks that we face are so huge? Even if he thinks that the risk is small, none the less, if it happens and there is yet more of a collapse of our bee populations, we are in deep trouble.

The Petitions that the MPs were discussing are

Continue the ban on the use of Neonicotinoids which achieved just over 91,000 signatures and which was closed down on 11/7/2021

Overturn the decision to allow the use of neonicotinoid pesticides which achieved nearly 52,000 signatures and was closed down on 11/7/2021

Ban urban and garden pesticides to protect bees, other wildlife and human health which achieved nearly 54,000 signatures and ended 26/1/2022

Overturn the decision to allow the use of neonicotinoid pesticides which achieved just over 11,000 signatures and it ended at 25/7/2022

and the final one was Save the bees: cut hazardous pesticides and support nature-friendly farming which had just over 23,000 signatures and it ended on the 11th January this year.

One of the comments that Luke Pollard stated was

Thiamethoxam, or TMX, has been found to reduce colony health by harming worker-bee locomotion and potentially altering the division of labour if bees move outside or remain outdoors. It can cause hyperactivity in bees and affect their ability to fly. It is not just killing bees; it is depriving bees of the ability to function. One teaspoon is powerful enough to kill 1.25 billion honey bees, according to Dave Goulson, a professor of biology at the University of Sussex, who is also an expert book writer on the subject of bees. I encourage colleagues to look him up in the Library. Indeed, the former Minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Victoria Prentis, told the Commons in December 2021 that there is a

“growing weight of scientific evidence that neonicotinoids are harmful to bees and other pollinators.”

Furthermore, the former Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has said, “The evidence points in one direction—we must ban neonicotinoids”. It is rare that I agree with the right hon. Gentleman, but I do here, and I imagine most colleagues in the Chamber do as well. When we left the EU, the Government promised to follow the science.

The person who responded to that section is Duncan Baker who is the Conservative MP for North Norfolk and he responded with

We should protect our wildlife wherever we possibly can, but I urge the hon. Gentleman to listen to the Minister on the science behind the derogation, given that East Anglia and my constituency of North Norfolk have a large and growing population farming sugar beet. We need to bring glyphosate into the argument. That is another product that we must look to ban, particularly because we know it has harmful effects for humans—it is carcinogenic—and is poor for our biodiversity. The EU is banning glyphosate later this year. What does the hon. Gentleman think about bringing the ban forward from 2025? I certainly want to hear the Minister’s response to that question. We must move to a far more natural solution than glyphosate, which is extremely harmful.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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