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Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL12731, tabled on 28 January 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what safeguards they have put in place to ensure that the authorisation for the emergency use of pesticides containing thiamethoxam for use on sugar beet crops will not put pollinators at risk.

Answered on

11 February 2021

The Government remains committed to the restrictions put in place in 2018 on the outdoor use of three neonicotinoid pesticides to protect bees and other pollinators. The emergency authorisation that was recently granted for the exceptional use of Cruiser SB (containing the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam) has been issued with strict conditions attached to ensure that potential risks to pollinators will be minimised. It only allows use on the 2021 sugar beet crop in England, which is a non-flowering crop.

A threshold of predicted disease level must be met before the use of treated seeds is allowed and the application rate of the product will be below the previously authorised commercial rate. Conditions are also imposed on the planting of any flowering crops within 22 months of the sugar beet crop, and no oilseed rape is to be planted within 32 months of the sugar beet crop because of its attractiveness to bees. Additionally, an industry-recommended herbicide programme must be followed to limit flowering weeds in and around any treated sugar beet crops.

Protecting pollinators remains a priority for this Government. The National Pollinator Strategy is a 10-year plan which sets out how Government, conservation groups, farmers, beekeepers and researchers can work together to improve the status of pollinating insect species in England.