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Bees

Volume 113: debated on Monday 30 March 1987

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) why he is proposing that the powers under section 74 of the Public Health Act 1961, which permit local authorities to control and eradicate pests, should be extended to bees; and if he will make a statement;

(2) why he described bees as urban pests in his proposals entitled "Air Pollution Control in Great Britain", published in December 1986; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what requests he has had from local authorities seeking additional powers to control and eradicate bees through the extension of the species covered by section 74 of the Public Health Act 1961; and if he will make a statement.

Discussions with local authorities have shown that existing powers have not always been adequate to deal with nuisance caused by certain animals or insects, including swarming bees, in urban areas. In our consultation paper "Air Pollution Control in Great Britain", we have therefore sought views on the proposal that the existing powers of local authorities to control pigeons and certain other birds, in section 74 of the Public Health Act 1961, should be extended to other birds, mammals or insects causing a nuisance, if specified by an order of the local authority. Such an order would be made after consultation and advertisement, and would be subject, if opposed, to confirmation by the Secretary of State. We shall consider carefully the reaction of local authorities and others to all the proposals in the consultation paper, including those relating to nuisance sometimes caused by swarming bees.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why he did not consult or notify the British Beekeepers Association on his proposals to provide local authorities with the power to control and eradicate bees; and if he will make a statement.

I regret that the British Beekeepers Association was not among the 420 organisations specifically consulted on wide-ranging proposed changes to air pollution legislation. However, the consultation paper is available to, and comments are welcome from, anyone with an interest in the matters under review. We will carefully consider the views of beekeepers on the proposals relating to bees.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement outlining the policy of Her Majesty's Government on the impact which bees have on the environment.

Bees are both economically and ecologically immensely important, especially as pollinators of fodder crops, various fruit crops and many wild plants. But uncontrolled swarms of bees can cause local environmental nuisance, especially in urban areas.