The last few months here at Friends of the Earth have consisted of intense campaigning for a National Bee Action Plan to be created by the Government in order to stop the drastic decline of British Bees. This effort was fuelled even further by the publication of new research by the University of Reading which found that last winter one third of all Honeybee colonies died in the cold.
Then, on the 14th of June, we discovered that Environment Minister Lord DeMauley had agreed to attend a Bee Summit two weeks later. The race was on, and all over the country campaigning intensified to try and have one last push in getting MPs on board supporting the Bee Cause. Over 20,000 people signed their support in just one week due to these efforts. Hence, we were all absolutely thrilled when Lord DeMauley stood up on the 28th of June and stated that the Government were going to introduce a ‘National Pollinator Strategy’! National Bee Action Plan to you and me. We were all abuzz with this fantastic news. It is a huge step forward for the Bee Cause, and could not have been done without the publics huge backing of the cause.
However, whilst this is a step in the right direction, the National Pollinator Strategy is decidedly vague. There are no details as to what the Strategy will consist of, and it was only when asked about timetables that Lord DeMauley stated that the research on the decline of bees would be not considered until November 2013.
As part of the Bee Cause campaign, we are calling for specific points to be included in the Action Plan; help farmers, gardeners and park keepers to reduce chemicals that harm bees, protect all 267 British bee species: not only the ones that make our honey and ensure our towns and countryside provide bees with enough flowers to feed on and places to nest. We now need to keep up the pressure to ensure that the National Pollinator Strategy includes as many of these points as possible.
As well as ensuring certain points are included, Andy Atkins (executive director of Friends of the Earth) said at the Bee Summit on the 28th June that a specific timetable needed to be produced and stuck to. Friends of the Earth have proposed that the National Pollinator Strategy should be put into action in Spring 2014, just as bees are coming out of hibernation. Two more important points that the Strategy should consider is having measurable targets, so the changes can be measured to ensure improvements are being made, and that other departments of the Government should become involved in the Strategy besides DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
A key message to all of the Bee Cause’s wonderful supporters is that the Bee Cause is not over! Whilst this is a very positive advancement, we still need to ensure that the National Pollinator Strategy moves in the right direction. Therefore, action cards still need to be signed in support of the points that Friends of the Earth feel should be included in the National Pollinator Strategy. Awareness of the Bee Cause also needs to be raised in order to keep up the pressure on the Government to produce the best Pollinator Strategy possible.
If you have any questions or would like to get involved with the Bee Cause, please contact Bex, Biodiversity Campaigner on firstname.lastname@example.org.