Thank you for contacting me about the use of neonicotinoids.
The Government continues to support the restrictions on neonicotinoids to protect pollinators, and emergency authorisations for pesticides are only granted in exceptional circumstances where diseases or pests cannot be controlled by any other reasonable means. These emergency authorisations can provide short term availability of a product if the applicant can demonstrate that this addresses a danger which cannot be contained in another way, that the use will be limited and controlled and that the necessary protection of people and of the environment can be achieved.
Under EU legislation, Member States may also grant emergency authorisations in exceptional circumstances. I can assure you that the UK’s approach to the use of emergency authorisations has, therefore, not changed as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU. I know that 10 EU countries including Belgium, Denmark and Spain have granted emergency authorisations for neonicotinoid seed treatments since 2018.
Moreover, the application for the use of Syngenta’s Cruiser SB on the 2021 sugar beet crop is for England only and the duration of authorisation is strictly limited to the period required to allow supply of the product. Sugar beet is a non-flowering (and, therefore, not a bee-attracting) crop that is only grown in the East of England. This exceptional use of Syngenta’s Cruiser SB will be strictly controlled and conditions of the authorisation include reduced application rate as well as a prohibition on any flowering crop being planted in the same field where the product has been used within 22 months of sugar beet and a prohibition on oilseed rape being planted within 32 months of sugar beet.
It would also, of course, be ludicrous to allow our sugar beet farming in the East of England to be severely compromised or ruined, whilst then importing the produce from other countries in the EU or elsewhere that do allow this treatment.
Please be 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.
Above all, I am pleased that the UK's future agriculture policies will help to improve biodiversity and support habitats for pollinators, building on existing agri-environment measures to enable many more farmers and land managers to take positive action.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. There is a huge amount of additional detailed information on this matter on the Gov.UK website.
With best wishes,
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking