As our petition to Stop the Importation of Honeybees into GB from the EU via Northern Ireland has passed 10,000 the point at which the government has to give a response Defra have responded and you can see that below. We need to get to 100,000 signatures to get the petition debated in Parliament.

"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"

"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

At 100,000 signatures...

At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament