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York MP Buzzing About Bee Protection

Hugh Bayley and Bee Campaigner 180113

2:29pm 18th January 2013

Hugh Bayley, MP for York Central, joined a giant bumble bee and campaigners from Friends of the Earth in the House of Commons this week on Tuesday 15 January to draw attention to the alarming decline in UK bee numbers which is due to many factors, including habitat loss, disease, and climate change.  There is also growing evidence that some pesticides harm bees.

Hugh Bayley and Bee Campaigner 180113

Bees make honey but they also pollinate most of the fruit and vegetables we eat.  A sharp fall in their number in recent years has led to growing concerns about the impact this could have on our food supply, economy and quality of life.  A study last year found that if bees disappeared, it would cost British farmers at least £1.8 billion a year to pollinate crops by hand, which would cause a dramatic increase in the price of fresh fruit and veg.

Last year, Friends of the Earth launched its Bee Cause campaign, which has been backed by more than 80,000 people and calls on the Government to urgently introduce a National Bee Action Plan to:

•          ensure our towns and countryside provide bees with enough flowers to feed on and places to nest;

•          help farmers, gardeners and park keepers to reduce chemicals that harm bees;

•          and protect Britain’s 250+ bee species, not only the ones who make our honey.

Over the summer on 3 August, Hugh Bayley met with York Beekeeper Julia Mander and campaigners from York and Ryedale Friends of the Earth to discuss their concerns about the declining populations of bees.  Mr Bayley wrote to the Government to urge them to introduce a National Bee Action Plan and is currently pressing the Government to suspend the use of pesticides linked to bee deaths until independent reviews have confirmed whether they are contributing to declining bee populations.

Andy Atkins, Executive Director of Friends of the Earth, says:

“I’m delighted Hugh Bayley MP is showing support for Britain’s threatened bees – they are under severe threat and need all the support they can get.  People up and down the country can help by creating bee-friendly gardens and habitats to enable bees to thrive, but it is vital that the Government does its bit too by introducing a national Bee Action Plan.”

Hugh Bayley MP says:

“I am very concerned about the rapid decline in British Bees, as are many of my constituents who have contacted me about this issue.  Bees are an iconic part of the countryside and play a vital role in pollinating crops and flowers.  I have been pressing the Government for months to introduce a National Bee Action Plan to improve the health of our bees and just before Christmas, I wrote about pesticides which are thought to be harming bees.  I will continue to do all I can to help protect Britain’s bees.”

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