Many constituents have been in touch following the UK Government lifting its ban on the use of neonicotinoids for Sugar Beet Farmers. Here is what that means, and why this new ruling won't apply in Wales.
Neonicotinoid pesticides were banned across the EU in 2018 due to their harmful impact on bees and pollinators, and the UK Government committed to maintaining these restrictions post-Brexit.
However, the UK Government announced on 8 January that it had authorised an exemption to treat sugar beet in England in 2021.
The Labour Party opposes this decision, and Shadow Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs wrote to the Government about this, stating:
“The ban on bee-killing pesticides must remain in place to protect bees and our natural environment.
“Labour supports our farmers but ending this ban is not the solution to helping farmers address crop blight. The Government must show its commitment to protecting our wildlife and biodiversity and reverse its decision.”
However, concerned Gower constituents should know that this is a devolved matter in Wales, and I am pleased that the Welsh Government has confirmed that this authorisation has no effect in Wales and no application has been made for use in Wales.
I voted for amendment 39 to the Environment Bill on 26 January, which sought to prevent the UK Government from lifting the ban on neonicotinoids in England by ensuring greater parliamentary scrutiny of exemptions. Disappointingly, it was voted down by the UK Government.
Neonicotinoids are seriously harmful to Britain's dwindling bee populations and will further damage biodiversity. I believe the UK Government should reverse it's decision, particularly as we look forward to Britain hosting COP26 this year.