Government urges public to help bees, but must play its part too
Welcoming the launch today of the Government’s call on the public to do their bit to protect bees and pollinators, Friends of the Earth Executive Director Andy Atkins said:
“The plight of our bees is high on people’s environmental concerns so it’s great to see Government, businesses and communities launching this call to action to protect this iconic species.
“The good news is that everyone can be part of the generation that helps save our bees, from creating a ‘Bee World’ wildflower patch in your local area to helping scientists monitor bee health by logging any bees you spot with the free Great British Bee Count app.
“But the Government must also play its part by strengthening its upcoming National Pollinator Strategy to address all the threats that bees face, especially by supporting farmers to cut pesticide use and halting the continued loss of vital habitat like meadows.”
Notes to editors
- On Friday 18 July, Environment Minister Lord de Mauley will launch Defra’s Bees Needs: five simple actions to help pollinators from planting more bee-friendly flowers to cutting grass less often, at the Plant Life Conference, hosted by HRH the Prince of Wales, to encourage people to do their bit to help insects such as bees and butterflies.
- Friends of the Earth’s The Great British Bee Count is the first national citizen science survey of UK bees. A free app enables people to easily identify bee species and log sightings of bees they spot while out and about. More than 21,000 people have spotted 610,000 bees since the bee count began in June – it runs until 31 August 2014.
- A recent YouGov survey found that the decline in bee numbers was top of people in the UK’s environmental concerns (85%), ahead of climate change (83%).
- Friends of the Earth is supporting communities and individuals around the UK to create hundreds of wildflower areas called 'Bee Worlds', to provide bees with food and shelter. 97% of wildflower meadow habitats have gone in the past 60 years. Anyone interested in creating a Bee World in their local park or area can apply for seeds and funding.
- Friends of the Earth is calling for the Government’s National Pollinator Strategy, due to launch in the autumn, to be considerably strengthened in order to be effective, particularly in tackling intensive farming, rising pesticide use, improving land use and a requirement for developers to increase bee-friendly habitats, and properly funded action rather than a reliance on voluntary measures.
- Friends of the Earth’s briefing ‘Farmers need bees and bees need farmers’ – produced with farmers – sets out essential steps towards productive bee-friendly farming and the Government support needed to make this mainstream on the 70% of UK land that’s farmed.