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Bees: Thiamethoxam

Volume 707: debated on Thursday 27 January 2022

6. What assessment he has made of the potential effect of his authorisation of the use of the pesticide thiamethoxam in certain circumstances on the bee population. (905290)

The emergency authorisation of thiamethoxam has been granted for sugar beet, which is a non-flowering crop so there is no direct risk to bees. However, due to the risk that thiamethoxam can stay in the soil for a period, we impose strict conditions on authorisation, including a requirement not to sow other flowering crops such as oilseed rape in the same field for at least 32 months.

Residents in the Kettering constituency want to see a larger and healthier bee population, but they do not want the England sugar beet crop destroyed by aphids. Will the Secretary of State outline the economic impact on sugar beet production if that pesticide is not used and what examination he has undertaken of alternative means of controlling aphids?

As part of our assessment of emergency authorisations, we consider the economic impact, and it is considerable. The sugar beet industry is an important crop for this country. As hon. Members will be aware, 12 other EU countries have also granted an emergency authorisation for sugar beet, so it is a common approach across Europe, but we have taken many steps to ensure that there is no risk to pollinators.