Bee populations have been in decline across the world for a number of years, but the reason for this drop off is hotly disputed.

Some scientists and NGOs have pinned the blame on pesticides known as neonicotinoids.

Meanwhile, the chemical companies which make neonics have said the parasitic mite Varroa Destructor is harming bees.

Read the unpublished industry studies detailing harm to bee health

A new ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) could shed some light on this debate.

The court ruled in November 2016 that safety tests submitted to European regulators by chemical companies have to be made public.

As Energydesk reported at the time, this means the research that Bayer and Syngenta conduct on their neonic pesticides will now be open to more scrutiny, giving scientists a better understanding of what’s causing bee populations to fall.

Christopher Connolly, a neurobiologist at Dundee University, said the ECJs verdict was “an important victory for both science and the public.”

“All evidence relating to the safety of any product, either to the environment or to human health, should always be disclosed. Only then can an assessment of risk be discussed openly by scientists and their views relayed to the public.”

Discover how pesticide giants influence research on bee impacts