The Environmental Audit Committee held its first and second public evidence hearings of its inquiry, Insects and Insecticides. In the morning evidence session, the Committee identified the key issues in relation to insects and insecticides with campaigners and farmers’ representatives. Topics for discussion included the current regulatory regime for pesticides, the decline of insect pollinators in the UK, organic alternatives to pesticides and the practical consequences of a hypothetical ban on the use of neonicotinoid insecticides. In the afternoon session, the Committee explored the latest scientific research on insects and insecticides with a panel of scientists who are currently active in the field. This session focused on the latest research on the effect of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees.
The meetings took place as follows: -
1) MORNING: 9.40 am on Wednesday 21 November in Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminster
At c.9.40 am (All timings are approximate.)
• Nick Mole, Policy Officer, Pesticide Action Network UK;
• Matt Shardlow, Chief Executive, Buglife
At c 10.40 am
• Chris Hartfield, National Farmers Union
• Peter Melchett, Soil Association
• Emma Hockridge, Soil Association
2) AFTERNOON: 3.05 pm on Wednesday 21 November in Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminster
At c.3.05 pm
• Professor Dave Goulson, Stirling University
• Professor Graham Stone, Edinburgh University
• Dr James Cresswell, Exeter University
• Dr Lynn Dicks, Cambridge University
28 November at 2.15 p.m. Subject: Insects and insecticides
Witness(es): Dr Mike Bushell, Principal Scientific Advisor, Syngenta, Dr Fraser Lewis, Division Head, Environmental Safety, Syngenta and Dr Julian Little, Bayer CropScience; Dr Nigel Raine, University of London, Dr Chris Connolly, University of Dundee and Professor Simon Potts, University of Reading; Georgina Downs, UK Pesticides Campaign
Location: Room 8, Palace of Westminster
The Environmental Audit Committee will hold its fifth public evidence hearings of its inquiry, Insects and Insecticides at 9.35 am on Wednesday 19 December in Committee Room 6, Palace of Westminster.
The Committee will examine the possible human health implications of the application of pesticides, including neonicotinoids.
At c. 9.35 am
• Georgina Downs, UK Pesticides Campaign
The public oral evidence session planned for Wednesday 19 December at 9.35am has been postponed.
The Environmental Audit Committee (Wednesday, 30 January 2013, at 2.15pm) prepares to give its view on whether neonicotinoid pesticides should be banned. The German chemical giant Bayer is summoned back to Parliament to explain inconsistencies in its previous evidence on how long they can linger in the environment. Neonicotinoids were recently branded an 'unacceptable' danger to bees by the EU Food Safety Authority. The committee has taken extensive evidence on this issue and seems likely to recommend a ban
Watch the Session of Wednesday 30 January, 2013:
The Environmental Audit Committee will hold its penultimate public evidence hearings of its inquiry, Insects and Insecticides at 2.15 pm on Wednesday 6 February in the Thatcher Room, Portcullis House.
The Committee will hear evidence from Herman Fontier from the European Food Safety Authority on EFSA’s work on neonicotinoid insecticides, including the publication of its ‘risk assessment for bees’ on 16 January. The Committee will also hear from agronomists from Agrii and Prime Agriculture on the advice given to farmers about the economic and environmental considerations for using pesticides. And Georgina Downs from UK Pesticides Campaign will give further evidence on the human health implications.
At c. 2.15 pm
• Herman Fontier, Head of Pesticides, European Food Safety Authority
At c. 3.00 pm
• Chris Bean, Agronomist, Agrii
• Peter Riley, Agronomist, PrimeAg
At c. 3.45 pm
• Georgina Downs, UK Pesticides Campaign
Committee Membership was as follows:
Chair: Joan Walley, MP
Peter Aldous MP Zac Goldsmith MP Caroline Nokes MP
Richard Benyon MP* Mark Lazarowicz MP Mr Mark Spencer MP
Neil Carmichael MP Caroline Lucas MP Paul Uppal MP
Martin Caton MP Ian Murray MP Dr Alan Whitehead MP
Katy Clark MP Sheryll Murray MP Simon Wright MP
* The Minister for the Environment has membership of the Committee in like manner to the Financial Secretary’s membership of the Committee of Public Accounts.
The Environmental Audit Committee considers the extent to which the policies and programmes of government departments and non-departmental public bodies contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development, and it audits their performance against any sustainable development and environmental protection targets. Unlike most select committees, the Committee’s remit cuts across government rather than focuses on the work of a particular department.
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