London: The March of the Beekeepers

With just a few days to go before the decisive vote on the EU Commission’s proposal to ban the use of bee-harming pesticides (neonicotinoids) for an initial 2 year period, civil society pressure is mounting across Europe.

Last week, ARC2020 launched its EU-wide action, along with Slow Food and the European Beekeeping Coordination, encouraging people to write directly to their Agricultural Minister who will vote (on behalf of their national government) on whether or not to support the ban. In the initial vote on March 15th, no majority vote was reached. Key countries abstaining were the UK and Germany. Find the full result here.

This Friday, an action will take place in London ahead of the final vote on Monday 29 April, organised by Avaaz, Buglife, Environmental Justice Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Pesticide Action Network UK, RSPB, Soil Association and 38 Degrees.

The event will see beekeepers with smokers (not lit), flanked by supporting celebrities, people wearing beehive hair, carrying flowers, apples, pears and other pollinated vegetables, honey and jam, a giant Winnie the Pooh gather in front of the UK government buildings.

The aim is to raise awareness of the pending vote and the issue at stake, and to pile the pressure on the Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP – Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs in the UK. With even the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee concluding that certain neonicotinoids are harmful to bees, The March of the Beekeepers will show Mr Paterson the full weight of public, expert and Government opinion and persuade him to now support a European ban.