Response to Neonicotinoids Campaign
Thank you for taking the time to write to the office of David Drew with your concerns on the use of neonicotinoids and the decision that will shortly be taken by Michael Gove to either extend the restrictions on these pesticides or to lift them. Following the brief email from David, I am responding with a more detailed response as his Caseworker.
In 2013 the EU imposed restrictions on the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, three forms of neonicotinoids. Despite this, in 2015 the UK government granted the use of neonicotinoids in four counties. It is for this reason it is considered more of a restriction than a ban.
The Labour Party has a clear line in opposition of the use of any pesticides that threaten our bee population. The protection of the environment is a priority for the Labour Party, and clearly this protection must extend to safeguarding pollinators, such as bees, and their habitats. As you rightly point out in your email, pollinators are vital to our ecosystem, yet populations have declined over the past 50 years. The Labour Party fully supports any actions that can be taken to prevent further decline.
The European Food Safety Authority was expected to complete a review in January of 2017 but there is yet to be any publicly available information on this. There has, however, been a variety of scientific research released indicating harmful effects on the UK bee population such as: general population decline, hindering pollinators’ ability to establish new populations; negative impact on the ovaries of wild bumblebee queens. Although there is increasing evidence that indicates a correlation between the use of neonicotinoids and the UK bee population, it is contested by the two largest producers of neonicotinoids, Bayer CropScience and Syngenta.
We have been clear about our concerns on the use of neonicotinoids and will continue to speak in Parliament against any pesticides that harm the bee population. We trust that our MEPs will do the same.