Thank you to those who have contacted me about neonicotinoid insecticides and bees.  As a Vice President of Bedfordshire Beekeepers Association I am aware of the importance of this issue.
 
Bees and other pollinators play a vital role in the security of our food supply and the quality of our natural environment and I welcome the work the Government has done over the last few years to understand and protect them, most recently through the National Pollinator Strategy.

The Strategy lays out plans to improve our understanding of the abundance, diversity and role of pollinators over the next three to five years, and identify any additional actions needed to protect them. It also describes actions that can be implemented now, building on initiatives already under way. These include measures to raise the profile of existing initiatives to conserve and create good quality wild flower meadows, and minimising risks from pesticides. Organisations such as Network Rail, the Highways Agency and the National Trust have agreed that railway embankments, motorway embankments and forests will be used to create bee and insect friendly habitats.
 
It also includes the first ever wild pollinator and farm wildlife package, which will see more funding made available to farmers and landowners that take steps to protect pollinators through the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme.

With regards to pesticides, these are tightly regulated and decisions on the approval of these substances are made at the European level. Since December 2013, three of the five currently approved neonicotinoids are not permitted for use on a wide range of crops considered attractive to bees. The Government has implemented these restrictions in full. They are not time-limited, and will remain in place unless the European Commission decides to change them.
 
The European Food Safety Authority has begun a review of the science relating to neonicotinoids and bees, which is expected to conclude in the summer. This includes looking at the effects on bees caused by seed treatments, and uses of the restricted pesticides in the form of granules. The Government has said that it will contribute fully to this review, because any decisions must be based on solid evidence.
 
Rest assured that restrictions on neonicotinoids will not be removed if the evidence shows that they should remain.