I have been contacted by a considerable number of my constituents about bees, for which I thank all of those who took the time to contact me to share their views.
I do, of course, endeavour to support my constituents on all the issues they are concerned about and this is particularly the case with environmental issues, as I do feel it is crucial to provide a voice to more rural constituencies such as those in Yorkshire and the Humber. As such, you will be pleased to hear that I received a considerable amount of correspondence on the topic of bees and pesticides, and you are far from alone in your concern about and passion for protecting bees from harmful pesticides.
On the subject of the regular applications from the National Farmers Union, there are rules providing for the use of normally restricted products to be authorised in emergency situations to protect crops. If emergency authorisation is granted, this does not mean that the ban has been lifted: the facility to allow strictly controlled, targeted uses of pesticides under an emergency authorisation is an essential feature of precautionary bans.
These decisions are taken based on recommendations from the Expert Committee on Pesticides, the independent body of scientists that advises the Government. It takes all environmental factors into account, including the effects of using greater quantities of less effective alternative pesticides.
On the subject of continuing to protect bees once we have withdrawn from the EU, I will certainly bear how strongly you and many of my constituents feel on the issue when considering the terms of our EU exit. I am sure you can appreciate that it is impossible for me to know at this stage what plans the Government will adopt in terms of whether or not to pursue a ban of pesticides, but please do be assured I will make the views of my constituents heard as soon as required to do so.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.