Debates between Lord Harries of Pentregarth and Lord Benyon during the 2019 Parliament

Tue 25th May 2021

Pesticides

Debate between Lord Harries of Pentregarth and Lord Benyon
Tuesday 25th May 2021

(3 years ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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My Lords, the UK is a world leader in developing greener farm practices and upholds the highest standards of environmental and health protection. We operate a strict science-based system of regulation to encourage safe and minimal use. The total weight of active substance applied has decreased significantly over the last two decades. In addition, a move to more active substances, which are effective at lower dose rates, is a further driver of decreases in the weight of active substance.

Lord Harries of Pentregarth Portrait Lord Harries of Pentregarth (CB) [V]
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As the Minister knows, the survival of humans is totally dependent on the survival of bees, but the bee population is declining and precarious. Is it not therefore essential to ban all neonicotinoids in all circumstances? While the withdrawal of the use of the neonicotinoid thiamethoxam in March is to be welcomed, should it not be permanently banned?

Lord Benyon Portrait Lord Benyon (Con)
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I share the noble and right reverend Lord’s concern for pollinators and particularly honeybees. I was pleased that the impact of the field scale studies on neonicotinoids resulted in the ban in 2018. Concern was raised by many at the temporary allowance of one to be used on the sugar beet crop, but it was never actually used because the threshold for use was so high. It is right to use science as the absolute arbiter in this, but also to be fleet of foot. Where we have to increase the number of sprays on the banned list, we will.