The Solution
Thursday, 29 March 2012 00:00

Bee-Logo_ORANGEWith the causes of the problem so complex and not well understood, there are no simple solutions to the problem of pollinator declines. However there are actions that can be taken nationally and locally.

On a national level, the implementation of an official National Bee Action Plan would help bring  about national policies - such as planning regulations to protect habitat and sustainable farming methods – to protect against further pollinator declines and promote population growth.

Wildflower-rich habitats such as meadows and grasslands need to be restored, conserved, maintained and linked to others via 'bee corridors'. Agricultural expansion has been one of the main drivers for the loss of habitat and forage, but can be harnessed to reverse the process. The provision of greater subsidies (some funding is already available, see Natural England and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust) for farmers for environmental stewardship would encourage them to take an active role in creating and preserving wildflower meadows with no financial loss.

The use of certain systemic pesticides linked with harmful effects on bees should be banned. Despite recent research strongly linking some neonicotinoid pesticides with an interference with bees' ability to navigate and produce queen bees, pesticide manufacturers and the UK government still deny that neonicotinoids cause significant problems for bees. Germany, Italy and France have all suspended the use of key insecticides over such fears.

Providing subsidies for bee keeping could boost the UK honeybee population. Over 90 per cent of the UK's honeybee population exists thanks to the efforts of 17,000 amateur beekeepers.

Raising public awareness of the issues and the actions that can be taken on a local or individual level will mobilise people to take action – such as making their gardens bee-friendly environments, using less insecticides/pesticides, buying organic etc – see Take Action.

On a local level, local councils can take action by planting bee-friendly plants in parks and city centres and encouraging the use of such plants in Cities in Bloom competitions. Local areas can be mapped to identify areas for improvement.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 April 2012 12:54