MP’s, including Eastleigh MP Mims Davies, have backed a new Bill to ban the use of insecticides that are particularly harmful to bees – reversing previous government opposition to an EU initiative.
In 2013 the EU Commission proposed a total ban on three insecticides containing neonicotinoids on crops like oil seed rape that attract pollinators.
The UK Government and the National Farmers Union opposed a ban because they claimed there was insufficient evidence that insectides harmed bees but the rest of the EU member states agreed to to the introduction of a ban. But recently the Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the evidence base had grown and the UK was prepared to take to action to prevent a potential ecological disaster.
Across Europe almost four and a half million people had signed an online petition urging governments to take action and Mims Davies said she had received over 300 letters from people across the Eastleigh area:
“Over 300 people from Hamble to Bishopstoke, West End to Botley have written to me – one of my largest post bags – to express their support for protecting our pollinators – including our bees – and I agree that it is vital that we take action.
“Whenever people write to me in such large numbers over matters that really matter to them I always work hard to ensure that their views are properly represented and progressed.
“That’s why, through my role working alongside the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, I am so pleased that the UK has endorsed a proposal to ban outdoor use of the three neonicotinoids insecticides and launched a National Pollinator Strategy.
“Like so many others, I was delighted to enjoy the recent sunshine over the Bank Holiday weekend when I saw so many bees, butterflies and other pollinators busy at work. Like so many of us, this Government recognises the enormous contribution that these pollinators make to our environment and our communities, which is why I am thrilled to be working alongside Ministers – including Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, George Eustice, who was in the Chamber to see in the Bill – as significant strides are made towards protecting our pollinators. This Bill will be a really important part of that.”
Introducing the Bill, Conservative MP Ben Bradley said:
“We have an opportunity to make a beeline for the protection and growth of our pollinator population, which I am sure colleagues will flock to support like moths to a flame. DEFRA has been a hive of activity and positive announcements in recent months, and this could add further to their success.”
Writing in the Guardian, Michael Gove said the policy would remain in place after Brexit.