Bee Action Plan due: last chance for bees

31st October 2014
news
release

Ahead of the Government’s unveiling of its long-awaited action plan to reverse the decline of Britain’s bees next week (expected on Tuesday 4 November), Friends of the Earth is warning it must contain strong measures to make UK farms and land use far more bee-friendly in order to be effective.

Friends of the Earth says the National Pollinator Strategy (NPS) must be considerably improved from draft versions to address the root causes of bee decline, by providing the right policy framework, support and incentives to ensure that farmers, land owners and developers are supported to reduce pesticide use, protect and create vital bee habitats to provide the food and shelter bees need across the UK.

Friends of the Earth’s Senior Nature Campaigner Paul de Zylva said:
“People around country are doing their bit making their gardens and allotments good for bees – the Government must now do its bit too to transform our farms, housing estates, parks and roadsides into habitat-rich, chemical-free spaces.

“Reversing bee decline for good depends on the Government producing an effective Bee Action Plan that tackles all the threats bees face, especially from pesticides and a lack of habitat on farms and new developments.

“Britain’s hard working bees deserve a first not third-rate Bee Action Plan – it’s time the Government delivered.”

The NPS is the Government’s response to unprecedented demand from the public, businesses, civil society organisations and MPs of all parties to reverse the decline of Britain’s bees. The plight of bees was top of people’s environmental concerns in a recent poll, ahead of climate change.

Today Friends of the Earth campaigners in Westminster will deliver a petition signed by thousands of people to Environment Secretary Liz Truss, which urges her not to delay the NPS further and ensure it contains ambitious action for bees. More than 200,000 actions have been taken to support Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign, from bee-friendly wildflower planting to calling for pesticide bans and demanding action from MPs, councils and the Government.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1.    The results of Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee Count, published last Tuesday (28 October), found that allotments were best for bees while parks and roadsides need improving. More than 23,000 people used a smartphone app to take part in the 12-week citizen science project this summer, spotting 830,000 bees in total.

2.    Friends of the Earth is calling for the Government’s National Pollinator Strategy to protect bees and other pollinators to be strengthened to address the root causes of bee decline. That means providing the right policy framework, support and incentives to ensure that:
• conditions for bees are improved on our farmland and farmers are also supported to cut pesticide use
• our most important bee habitats such as ancient meadows are properly protected and managed
• new development provides new space for bees and pollinators

3.    A recent YouGov poll found that British people consider the decline in bee numbers to be the most serious environmental issue – more than climate change – and bees are the one endangered species most people would save.

4.    Friends of the Earth has led the campaign to save British bees and other pollinators since launching its Bee Cause campaign in April 2012, which convinced the Government to introduce a national Bee Action Plan (National Pollinator Strategy or NPS) at a historic Bee Summit in June 2013, by building a coalition of more than 200 MPs, businesses such as B&Q and the Co-operative, the Women’s Institute and over 70,000 individuals.

5.    Friends of the Earth and others have been assisting the Government to draw up the NPS, which will provide a new framework for everyone – individuals, community groups, local councils, businesses, developers and farmers – to take action for bees and pollinators informed by the best available knowledge and scientific research.

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

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust