I entirely agree with you that bees and other pollinators play a vital role in the security of our food supply and the quality of our natural environment. 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.
I have been assured that the Government is keeping evidence on neonicotinoids under close, open-minded scrutiny and will restrict their usage if the evidence shows the need. However, like a number of other EU governments it does not consider that the scientific evidence supports the recent Europe-wide restrictions.
Its current assessment suggests that, while we cannot exclude the possibility of neonicotinoids affecting bees in the field, this not normally likely to occur and so the risk to bee populations is low. That is why I take the view that the Commission's response is neither sensible nor proportionate.
The European Commission has given an assurance that further field research can be done, and this is welcome because, as everyone interested in this issue has acknowledged, the evidence is incomplete. The Government is therefore leading further work to clarify this issue, which will form part of the Commission's review of this decision in 2015.
The situation of bees and pollinators is an issue I've written about before. If you would like to read my article, here's the link: