Petition Stop the importation of honey bees into GB from the EU via Northern Ireland
The UK Government should ensure that people cannot circumvent restrictions on the movement of bees from the EU to GB by moving them via NI. Unrestricted movement of bees could allow Small Hive Beetle to arrive and devastate British beekeeping.
If Small Hive Beetle was to be imported into GB with the bees, the risks to the bee population would be very great. The beetle can multiply to huge numbers quickly; eating brood, honey, pollen, destroying combs causing fermentation of the honey. If uncontrolled they ultimately destroy the colony. Within two years of its discovery in the USA at least 20,000 colonies were destroyed costing millions of dollars. The economic impact on UK beekeeping and the pollination service could be devastating.
This response was given on 29 April 2021
We recognise the serious threat posed by small hive beetle. EU areas affected by this pest are not permitted to export to the UK. Strict controls apply to imports into the UK from other areas.
Read the response in full
The Government recognises that some beekeepers are concerned about the new trading arrangements and the risks of exotic pests entering Great Britain, in particular small hive beetle.
Small hive beetle would present a serious threat to our honey bees if it were to arrive in the UK. This invasive pest has only been detected in one part of Europe, namely southern Italy, and exports of bees from the affected region into either Great Britain or Northern Ireland are not permitted.
Imports of honey bees into Northern Ireland and any other part of the UK are only accepted from approved countries and are subject to rules relating to notification and health certification to ensure that imports are free of key pests and diseases.
Movements of honey bee queens, packages and colonies from Northern Ireland to Great Britain remain permitted. There is, and will remain, unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods, including honey bees, to the rest of the UK market.
We continue to work with colleagues in the Devolved Administrations as part of our monitoring of the new trading arrangements.
We recognise the important role played by beekeepers and bee farmers in sustaining honey bee health. We appreciate the level of interest in this issue, and we continue to listen to beekeepers and associations as part of our ongoing work to maintain suitable trading arrangements and effective biosecurity for the UK beekeeping sector.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Other parliamentary business
Government announces details of the UK's proposed approach on the Northern Ireland Protocol
On Monday 19 July, MPs questioned Brandon Lewis, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, on the Government’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, following a ministerial statement.
The Minister stated that the Protocol had been the source of considerable and ongoing disruption to lives and livelihoods, and that the Government would bring forward plans to find a "new balance", that ensures goods can circulate more freely within the UK customs territory, while ensuring that full processes are applied to goods destined for the EU.
Watch the Government statement and MPs' questions: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/9a26f78c-9111-4757-8db8-29c04e4e8586?in=12:53:16
You can read further details of the UK's proposed approach on the Protocol here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/northern-ireland-protocol-next-steps
What is a ministerial statement?
Ministerial statements are a way for Ministers to bring an important matter to the attention of MPs, often at short notice. You can find out more about them here: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/statements/
Ministers are the MPs and members of the House of Lords who are in the Government. They are appointed by the Prime Minister and each given a specific area of government policy to oversee, for example education, health and social care, or national defence. Some senior Ministers are also referred to as Secretaries of State. Ministers speak on behalf of the Government during parliamentary debates and must answer questions put to them by other MPs or members of the House of Lords.