I have been contacted by a very large number of my constituents raising their concerns about the
recent granting of an emergency licence for an insecticide from the Neonicotinoid family of
I understand that this licence has been granted for the 2021 sugar beet crop in the South East. I do understand the concerns that have been raised given the known impact of this family of this family of pesticides on many species of insects, and particularly on bees which are of course vital pollinators.
I am aware that usage in this case has been granted under an emergency licence with some quite stringent
conditions attached, but concerns have nevertheless been raised about long-term risks around the
potential longevity of this pesticide in the soil, as well as the potential for immediate loss of
pollinators attracted by weeds and wild flowers in the area even though the sugar beet crop itself is nonflowering. These concerns have also been raised by bodies including the Wildlife Trust with expertise
in wildlife protection.
I have written to ministerial colleagues at DEFRA to ask for reassurances that these concerns and other
safety concerns about the use of neonicotinoids in the UK have been fully investigated, and that the Government has no plans to authorise wider use of this family of pesticides. No pesticide should be used if there is
any significant risk to pollinators. Additionally, I have called for support for any farms on which emergency authorisations are granted to be supported to develop plans to farm sustainably without the use of
this type of pesticide in future.
I have been assured that protecting pollinators remains a priority for the Government. The National Pollinator Strategy, published in 2014, is a ten year plan which sets out how the Government, conservation groups, farmers, beekeepers and researchers can work together to improve the status of the approximately 1,500 pollinating insect species in England.