The Government continues to support the restrictions on neonicotinoids to protect pollinators. Emergency authorisations are only granted in exceptional circumstances, where diseases or pests cannot be controlled by any other reasonable means, and only provide short-term availability of the pesticide if the applicant can demonstrate that the pesticide’s use will be limited and controlled, and that the necessary protection of people and of the environment can be achieved.
The emergency authorisation of Syngenta’s Cruiser SB only applies to the sugar beet crop in England, and the authorisation is limited to the period required to allow supply of the product. Cruiser SB’s use will be strictly controlled, and conditions of the authorisation include reduced application rate, and a prohibition on any flowering crop being planted in the same field where the product has been used within 22 months of sugar beet, or 32 months for oilseed rape.
Sugar beet is a non-flowering plant that is only grown in this country in the East of England. Last autumn, yields were devastated by virus yellows. While we all support the use and further development of alternatives that allow farmers to continue planting sugar beet without using neonicotinoids, unfortunately, on this occasion, the emergency authorisation is necessary.
It is important to note that, since 2018, ten EU member states have granted emergency authorisations for neonicotinoid seed treatments. Our rules on pesticides and provisions for emergency authorisation remain the same as they were before we left the EU, and the Government does not intend to change them.
I am assured that protecting pollinators remains a priority for the Government. The National Pollinator Strategy, published in 2014, sets out how the Government, conservation groups, farmers, beekeepers and researchers can improve the status of pollinating insect species.