MICHAEL Southworth is concerned (Pesticide represents a serious threat to bees, Craven Herald letters, January 14) that the UK government has authorised the use of a neonicotinoid pesticide for limited use on sugar beet which is banned in the EU.

But as ever with the EU, things are not always what they seem. It is true that the EU has 'banned' the use of this class of pesticide. But individual member states can get around the ban by a process of emergency authorisation in situations where 'the danger cannot be controlled by other reasonable means.'

There have been over 60 examples of the use of these powers since the EU 'ban' came into force and by far the largest crop to use this device has been sugar beet. In particular, to control the beet yellows virus which apparently is difficult to control by other means.

So on this occasion the UK is actually mirroring what is going on in the EU rather than diverging.

Perhaps Mr Southworth missed the recent implementation of a complete ban on Dutch pulse fishing trawlers in UK fishing grounds or the announcement that the UK will move farm payments away from solely focusing on production to areas such as managing land for wildlife and biodiversity which I would argue are positive signs of how the UK will use its new found freedoms. Of course, these announcements may just be window dressing in order to placate the environmental lobby and may not lead to significant change.

But at the next election Mr Southworth will be able to compare the achievements and future plans of the government and contrast them to the offer from the opposition parties and put his cross alongside his preferred candidate at the ballot box, something that was never an option whilst the EU controlled farming policy.

Andrew Diggens