Can the British import bees from the European Union? This is the question asked by Patrick Porphitt, a Kent beekeeper. With Brexit taking effect, the arrival of these “made in Europe” insects is a problem for the UK.
“It is strange.” He regrets this former supporter of “leaving” (ndlr : Exit from the European Union) which today regrets the vote, because 15 million bees bred for exploitation in southern Italy are banned.
“I have been in business for forty years, and I have never considered going into a process that would be harmful not only to me but also to the country.”
Since the end of the transition period governing trade links between London and Brussels, only the queen bee can be imported into the United Kingdom, except for the de facto colonies.
Consequently, Patrick’s request, which has been submitted since March 2020, is pending. “I’m supposed to pay this bill,” he explains.
The man is considering transporting his bees through Northern Ireland, which is still subject to European rules. But here again, the authorities stepped in. “They said they would shoot and destroy them and sue me,” he says. “I asked them to provide me with the legislation they were applying to take this action, and I never got it, because there is no legislation.”
This problem not only affects beekeepers, but also the entire fruit industry, which depends on bees to pollinate the flowering trees. Without them, the productivity of farms, and especially pears, will fall by 20%.
“We will have to replace our crops with European crops, it is a disaster. In ten years, we will be asking ourselves how an entire industry can find itself in such a situation. It is without a doubt the death knell for beekeeping, we cannot. Replace the losses in our original cells,” Impossible, “indignant Patrick.
The UK government says it is aware of the problem and is working with decentralized administrations to find a solution. Meanwhile, the project to import bees via Ireland continues – for Patrick.