NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “This research is not new and relies heavily on lab-based studies which are not reflective of what has been seen in the field. The motives behind the literature which has been studied are questionable; hence why the NFU continually lobbies for regulations to be based on balanced, sound science – not regurgitation of existing studies when new information is needed.

“The neonicotinoids restrictions have taken away a vital tool in the toolbox of UK farmers. Many farmers across the nation have seen their crops be compromised by cabbage stem flea beetle; a pest which was eating away at our plants before they even surfaced due to the absence of the neonicotinoid seed coating protecting the plant in its first growth stages. Its larvae are now inside many plants causing damage from the inside-out.

"We are yet to see the potentially destructive impacts of turnip yellow virus infections. “The irony is oilseed rape is an extremely important crop for pollinators including bees, providing an abundant, early, supply of pollen, and helping to create a varied habitat. Conversely, bees are essential to farmers in helping pollinate their crops. But with pests threatening acres of oilseed rape, it is likely farmers will reluctantly reduce the area of the crop grown or simply choose an alternative crop to grow.

“There is no evidence that the restriction has been beneficial to pollinators and the NFU remains concerned that it is politically motivated and the basis for it has oversimplified issues of pollinator numbers which is subject to multiple pressures such as varroa and habitat loss.”