This post may be of interest to readers who love bees. I hope there are some. I've spent some time on research. I am very fond of bees. My great uncle, Will Lloyd kept bees. If I'd lost my role representing Montgomeryshire last May, I would have joined the retiring Bill Turnbull as a bee farmer. This post is an introduction to discussion on the ban on neonicotinoids, which has inspired a deluge of emails, and much misinformation. My effort to spread a little factually correct information.
Bees have been in decline for decades. We do not know why but the reasons being put forward include weather, pests, parasites, neonicitinoids, loss of food source and other reasons (unknown).
In Dec 2013, the EU introduced a ban on three neonicotinoids (sprays) on the basis that they may be a contributory factor. The UK did not support the ban, not accepting that evidence justified it. However, the UK has accepted the ban and fully complied with it. Over the last two years, the EU has carried out large scale field trials, to help with a review of the ban in Dec 2015, as was always intended. The ban remains in place, and has not been overturned.
There was always the right for any member state to put forward a case for a limited derogation from the ban, normally for a specific area for a specific period. Several states have sought and been granted derogations, including the UK (in 4 counties) and other member states which supported the ban in 2013. This is how it was anticipated that the ban would operate.
If there is evidence that neonicotinoids are a threat to bees, I would support a ban. So would the good folk at Defra. I'm not sure such evidence exists. Also, there has been no new approach to this by the new UK Govt. The points to make are 1) there has been no overturning of the ban 2) the UK has fully complied with the ban and 3) decisions have been made by independent committees. This is not the impression being given in the deluge of emails I am receiving.