A British beekeeper who is trying to bring 15 million baby bees into the UK has reportedly been told the bees will be seized and burned because of post-Brexit laws. As per an Independent report, Patrick Murfet, managing director at Bee Equipment, wants to import the baby Italian bees for his Kent business and to help British farmers pollinate valuable crops. Also Read - United Kingdom MPs Approve 'Historic' Brexit Trade Deal With European Union
However, after the UK left the EU’s single market, bringing certain types of bees into the country is banned. According to new rules, only queen bees can be imported into Great Britain, rather than colonies and packages of bees. Murfet had initially tried to get his bees imported via Northern Ireland, in a bid to avoid the import ban, but has now been warned that his bees may be destroyed. Also Read - After Agreement With UK, Now EU Chiefs to Sign Brexit Trade Deal Tomorrow | All You Need to Know
‘I am a passionate beekeeper, I’ve been doing it for nearly 20 years. It’s a monumentally stupid situation for a country supposed to be standing on its own two feet and exporting round the world,’ Murfet told the Press Association. Also Read - 'Deal Finally Done': EU And UK Clinch Provisional Post-Brexit Trade Agreement
Before Brexit, he used to import large numbers of bees from breeders in Italy, where the climate is warmer. Murfet said he has already paid a deposit of about £20,000 for the bees and stands to lose nearly £100,000 in costs alone if he cannot bring them into the country.
He added: “So far the department has overseen a policy whereby the UK is only one of three countries in Europe to see a decline in bee colonies. Fewer honeybees means less pollination, less top fruits and more imports.”
He is now appealing to the government to help clarify the rules and make future imports possible.