I am very concerned about the recent decline in our bee population. Bees are absolutely vital to our economy and environment. We should be doing all we can to reverse this trend and protect bees from damaging pesticides and other environmental degradation.
We must be vigilant to ensure that pesticides are not causing disproportionate damage to our wildlife, measured against the very real need to protect our food supplies. Pesticides can have a particularly negative impact on bees, as they can leave them disorientated and unable to find their way back to their hives.
I welcome the Government’s decision not to allow farmers to use bee-harming pesticides last year. The expert committee on pesticides ruled that the use of the chemicals would be too widespread and there would not be sufficient controls. I very much hope that they will reach a similar verdict for the year ahead.
Many of these pesticides are banned in Europe because of the threat they pose to bee populations. It is very important that we continue to follow these guidelines even after we have left the European Union. I am clear that Brexit should not be used as an opportunity to weaken environmental protections like those which help protect our bee population.