Honey bee foraging holds key to healthy land
Commenting on new research by the University of Sussex, published today, which says honey bees’ foraging preferences can provide the Government with valuable information about how to improve how farmland, countryside and urban areas are planned and managed, Paul de Zylva, Senior Nature Campaigner at Friends of the Earth said:
“This extraordinary study decodes bees’ dance to show they prefer to visit fields that are farmed and managed to high environmental standards.
“Sadly, such fields and areas are under threat in our increasingly pressurised countryside.
“The Government, which is in the middle of reforming farm subsidies and drafting a National Bee Action Plan, must take note by directing support to farmers who raise the environmental quality of their land.”
Notes to editors:
1. ‘Listen to the bees’ to create healthy rural landscapes, says Sussex study: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/newsandevents/index?id=24883
2. Friends of the Earth has led the campaign to save British bees and other pollinators since launching its Bee Cause campaign in April 2012, which convinced the Government to introduce a national Bee Action Plan (National Pollinator Strategy - NPS) through building a coalition of more than 200 MPs, businesses such as the Co-operative and B&Q, the Women’s Institute and over 70,000 individuals. http://www.foe.co.uk/bees
3. Friends of the Earth is calling for the Government’s National Pollinator Strategy to be strengthened in the following areas:
• Proper support for farmers - Government proposals for confronting intensive farming are generally weak, vague and reliant on entirely voluntary actions;
• More action to tackle rising pesticide use and urge parks and gardeners to avoid spraying, in the light of increasing evidence about the potentially devastating impact on our bees;
• More onus on developers needed to safeguard pollinators by improving land use so bee habitats increase with development, not the reverse;
• Proper funding for the strategy instead of unclear or inadequate proposal. The Government cannot just rely on people’s goodwill to act.
4. MPs on the Commons Environmental Audit Committee are following up on their 2012 Pesticides and Pollinators inquiry and report with a new inquiry into whether the Government’s National Pollinator Strategy will be fit for purpose. See http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/news/newinquirynationalpollinatorstrategy/