HC Deb 20 December 1999 vol 341 cc443-4W
Mr. Keetch

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how the money promised by the Government in 1998 in order to tackle varroa disease and to educate beekeepers to become more self-reliant was spent; and if he will make a statement. [102454]

Ms Quin

[holding answer 13 December 1999]: The Government fund a range of measures in England through their bee health programme, which is delivered by the Central Science Laboratory's National Bee Unit. In 1998–99 the programme cost £1.3 million. The measures included a free diagnostic service for varroa, American Foul Brood and European Foul Brood as well as providing training and guidance on how to improve bee husbandry to help control bee diseases. Under the latter we issued a new leaflet on varroa monitoring to help beekeepers time treatments. This was accompanied by a varroa mite calculator.

In addition in 1998–99 we spent around £248,000 on research and development (mainly on varroa), including a new five-year project on the biological control of varroa.

Arrangements for bee health matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly respectively.