The importance of pollinators to our food supply, biodiversity and economy is clear and I share your concern about declining bee numbers.

The Protection of Pollinators Bill was introduced to Parliament in May 2018. The purpose of the Bill was to support and grow the population of bees and other pollinators by creating a national network of wildflower-rich habitats. However, because the Government have already committed to protecting bees the bill was withdrawn from Parliament.

The Government has said that current environmental regulations – including the ban on neonicotinoids – will remain in place until we leave the EU. The European Commission is reviewing the evidence and there are draft proposals for a full EU ban on the three most commonly used neonicotinoids which could be implemented later this year. I support such a ban and at the recent general election I stood on a manifesto which committed to protect our bees by prohibiting neonicotinoids as soon as our EU relationship allows us to do so.

It is vital that we take a science-led approach to pesticide use and consider how best to support farmers, protect wildlife and reverse the decline of pollinators. I would like to see a commitment to fund further research into identifying suitable substitutes to neonicotinoids and support for integrated pest management measures which would benefit the farming community without posing risks to the environment, and human or animal life.

I can assure you I will continue to press for evidence-based policy and for a ban on bee-harming neonicotinoids.

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