A large number of constituents have contacted me about the Government’s decision to allow the use of neonicotinoids in sugar beet farming. I completely agree that lifting the ban on these bee-killing pesticides is a mistake and hugely damaging to the environment.
The decline of bee species in recent years is and environmental catastrophe. Without these insects, our entire ecosystem will fail. Bees are responsible for pollinating 70% of the fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds we eat but, in the UK, thirteen bee species are already extinct and one in ten of Europe’s wild bee species are under threat.
There is no denying that sugar beet farmers are experiencing a difficult time with crop blight but lifting the ban on bee-killing pesticides is not the answer. Better support for the sector, accelerating introduction of blight-resistant crops and allowances for crop loss to be included in next year’s sugar contracts are all required.
Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard has written to Environment Secretary George Eustice to urge him to uphold the ban on these pesticides. Labour will continue to push for a vote in Parliament, fight to uphold the ban on bee-killing pesticides, and press Conservative MPs to do likewise.
We all depend on the natural world and I will continue to oppose Government policy that puts it at risk.