UK’s largest Bee Summit to address growing crisis (Friday 28th June)

21st June 2013

” Environment Minister Lord de Mauley to make key note speech at Friends of the Earth organised event.  The UK’s largest Bee Summit aimed at tackling the causes of bee decline, will take place in London next Friday (28 June 2013), Friends of the Earth revealed today.

The summit comes amid mounting concern about the decline in UK bee populations and the impact this could have on our food, gardens and countryside.

The Bee Summit has been organised by Friends of the Earth, who will host the event alongside Waitrose, the Co-operative and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. The meeting will bring together government officials, MPs, scientists, farmers, landowners, food retailers and producers to agree on the action required to reverse the decline of all Britain’s bees.

The summit will be addressed by Environment Minister Lord de Mauley, who is coming under growing public and political pressure to introduce an urgent Bee Action Plan to tackle the worrying decline in UK bees and other pollinators – not just action on managed honeybees.

Friends of the Earth’s is calling on the Minister to commit the Government to a Bee Action Plan to tackle all the threats bees face, such as habitat loss. The environment charity’s call is backed by over 200 MPs from all parties, businesses such as B&Q and the Co-op and tens of thousands of individuals.

Friends of the Earth’s Director of Policy and Campaigns, Craig Bennett, who will speak at the summit said:

“This bee summit comes at a crucial time – our food, gardens and countryside face a major crisis unless urgent steps are taken to protect these key pollinators.

“By bringing together experts, politicians and the food industry we hope we can agree on the measures needed to reverse the decline of our bee populations.

“Businesses, MPs and scientists are all backing the growing call for a Bee Action Plan – the Government must get off the fence and introduce one.”

Quentin Clark, Head of Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing, at Waitrose said:

“We rely on bees and other pollinators to successfully produce many of our crops. Bee decline is therefore more than a business risk; it’s a potential risk to food security.

“Waitrose is committed to protecting bee populations, which is why we have introduced a Seven Point Plan for Pollinators on a precautionary basis.

“A holistic approach is urgently needed, bringing together the food industry, scientists and politicians to agree a comprehensive bee action plan to protect the health of bees and other pollinators.”

Chris Shearlock, Sustainable Development Manager at The Co-operative said:

“Being both Britain’s biggest farmer and a major food retail serving over 14 million people each week we fully recognise the importance of bees and other pollinators to our business.

“Through our Plan Bee campaign, we’ve taken action on pesticides, worked to with our members to help bees in their own communities and funded research.

“We very much back calls for the introduction of a national bee action plan to reverse this worrying decline.”

National Federation of Women’s Institutes spokesperson, Marylyn Haines Evans, said:

“WI members have been working to save the honeybee since 2009, and we wholly support the call for a Bee Action Plan.

“We cannot afford to simply stand by and do nothing; three quarters of the world’s food crops rely on insect pollination and it is a fact that our bee populations are in crisis.

“This Summit provides an important opportunity to look to the future. We’re now looking for the Government to pick up the baton and show some leadership on this issue and introduce an action plan as a matter of real urgency.”


For press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

Notes to editors:

1. Friends of the Earth’s Bee Summit is taking place at the Royal College of Physicians on Friday morning. The event is fully booked. Media wishing to attend the key note speech by Environment Minister, Lord de Mauley, should call Tom Coupe to book a place on 020 7566 1675.

2. Friends of the Earth is calling for a Bee Action Plan to be drawn up, in-line with scientific evidence, which:

” Ensures the way we farm our food and plan our towns and cities is good for bees

” Helps farmers, gardeners and park keepers to reduce use of chemicals that harm bees

” Protects Britain’s wild and honey bee species and other pollinators

3. Friends of the Earth’s briefing on a proposed Bee Action Plan.

4. Friends of the Earth led the successful campaign earlier this year to persuade the UK’s leading home and garden retailers to voluntarily stop selling neonicotinoid pesticides linked to bee decline.

5. Friends of the Earth’s The Bee Cause campaign is calling on the Prime Minister to commit to a National Bee Action Plan, and supporting individuals to make change in their gardens and communities to help bees. To support the call to David Cameron and find out what else you can do to help bees, visit The Bee Cause webpage