May 2nd Deadline for UK Bee Consultation

Bee and pollinator campaigners in the UK have until May 2 to tell environment ministry DEFRA how much bees matter after the ministry launched consultations on a national pollinator strategy with a single tweet. A Friends of the Earth petition launched the same day to urge UK bee minister Lord de Mauley to take positive action to preserve pollinators has already gathered over 17,000 signatures. More people will have signed by the time the petition is ready to be delivered in May.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Paul de Zylva told ARC2020 that the bees and pollinators campaign has brought together a very wide range of fellow travellers, from retailers such as B&Q or Marks and Spenser to grassroots organisations like the National Federation of Womens’ Institutes and specialist beekeeping groups. The public can identify with bees and are committing to campaign for a landscape that is pollinator-friendly.

“More than two thirds of the UK is occupied by farmland, so we really need farmers to be on board,” de Zylva explained. While welcoming the UK government’s draft National Pollinator Strategy, he feels that DEFRA could do better, with a bit of encouragement.

“Intensive farming has a huge impact on pollinator populations, but the government is being vague and weak in confronting this issue. There is a lot of reliance on voluntary actions, which may or may not happen.” In particular, there is no clear commitment to tackle increasingly heavy pesticide use, nothwithstanding the partial, short-term neonicitinoid ban. Nor is there any measurable political appetite to push property developers into incorporating bee habitats in new building projects. The full documentation of the National Pollinators’ Strategy can be downloaded from the link at the top of this post or the main document is available here.

Earlier pollinator articles include:

Europe faces shortage of pollinators

Real impact of neonicotinoid seed dressings stays buried

UK government flies in the face of science

UK farmers’ union digs in to defend neonicotinoids

UK honey production plummets

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Peter Crosskey is based in the UK.