Nottingham Friends of the Earth is backing the national Bee Cause campaign. The main aim is to get the government to adopt a Bee Action Plan - to include policies on agriculture, conservation and planning. A number of local MPs have supported the campaign: Lilian Greenwood (Nottm S), Chris Leslie (Nottm E), Graham Allen (Nottm N) and Vernon Coaker (Gedling) - see our news page.
In July 2013 the Welsh Assembly Government published their Action Plan for Pollinators. England is a bit slower but 'Bees Minister' Lord de Mauley has agreed to develop a National Pollinator Strategy. Consultation has been promised later in 2013 for action to hopefully begin by spring 2014. We are asking for ambitious action including:
- Bee-friendly habitat on all farms and new housing developments;
- Flower-rich meadows protected and restored in every county;
- Helping farmers protect crops using fewer pesticides;
- Every park and verge to provide space for bees.
Worldwide around 75% of crops depend on pollinating insects like bees, including most of our fruit and veg. But bees are under threat. We need bees. And bees now need us to act.
Most pollination is carried out by wild bees (bumblebees and solitary bees), followed by hover flies, then butterflies and moths. The main reasons for decline of bees are: habitat loss, farming practices, pesticides, loss of flower-rich hay meadows, hedge removal (hedges attract small mammals whose burrows can be used by bumblebees), unsympathetic management of verges and green areas. Gardens are the best remaining habitat (if pesticide free).
Suggested solutions include more planting of British wildflowers rich in nectar and pollen (nectar provides energy and pollen provides protein), and reduction in pesticides:
- bee-friendly gardens and allotments (the Bumblebee Conservation Trust has advice on suitable wildflowers)
- local authorities to change management of road verges, roundabouts, green areas in parks, etc, and review use of pesticides
- get garden centres to provide suitable wildflowers and stop selling neonicotinoid pesticides (the Soil Association website lists brands to avoid)
- also see the Pesticides Action Network information on bees and pesticides
See our news page for a report of our food-tasting stall at West Bridgford's 'Lark in the Park' - challenging people to say which foods we wouldn't have without insect pollination.
We asked Nottingham City Council how they are making Nottingham in Bloom more bee-friendly and got back a positive reply. Their work includes establishing wildflower meadows, working with the Wildlife Trust to run community workshops on wildlife gardening, etc. (Download a copy of their reply here.)
Please sign the national petition to ask for an ambitious Bee Action Plan. Background information is linked from the website. Also, a briefing on why we need a Bee Action Plan. And resources for educators.