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Neonicotinoids

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 184478, tabled on 20 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason an emergency authorisation for the use of neonicotinoids on sugar beet was approved when the Health and Safety Executive recommended in their advice to the Government that that request for use be refused.

Answered on

26 April 2021

The Government is committed to the neonicotinoid restrictions put in place in 2018 and to the sustainable use of pesticides. Specific requirements for granting an emergency authorisation are laid out in pesticide regulations. In assessing whether the requirements are met, the decision maker considers the benefit of granting an emergency authorisation against an assessment of the potential harm from the proposed use of the product, taking into account the proposed conditions. This specific exemption refers to a non-flowering plant, grown in the East of England only, and we took advice on this from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Expert Committee on Pesticides and our own Chief Scientific Adviser.

The HSE advised that many aspects of the environmental risk assessment met the requirements for standard authorisation. The Government concluded that the remaining risks identified could be mitigated to an acceptably low level and that, with the strict conditions of use in place, these were outweighed by the substantial benefits to crop production from the use of Cruiser SB if 2021 were to be a year of high pest pressure. One of the conditions attached was to ensure that the product would only be used if the pest pressure was predicted to pass a certain threshold. Ultimately, this threshold for usage was not met and so the neonicotinoid was not used on sugar beet crops.

The reasons for the decision to issue this emergency authorisation for the product Cruiser SB were set out more fully in the Statement on the decision to issue - with strict conditions - emergency authorisation to use a product containing a neonicotinoid to treat sugar beet seed in 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

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