Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, joined a giant bumble bee and campaigners from the environment charity Friends of the Earth on Tuesday 15 January to draw attention to the alarming decline in UK bee numbers.
He was one of more than 125 MPs to show their support for Britain’s threatened bees. Last year Friends of the Earth launched its Bee Cause campaign, which has been backed by more than 80,000 people and calls for the Government to urgently to introduce a National Bee Action Plan aimed at saving our bees.
Bees are not only makers of honey, they are also crucial for pollinating crops and plants. A sharp fall in their number in recent years has led to growing concerns about the impact this may have on Britain’s environment, farmers and the economy.
A study last year found that if bees disappeared it would cost British farmers at least £1.8 billion a year to pollinate their crops by hand – which would cause food prices, such as fresh fruit and veg, to rocket.
Justin said: “I am extremely concerned about the rapid decline in British Bees. They’re not only an iconic part of our countryside; they play a vital role in pollinating our crops and flowers too. It’s great news that Friends of the Earth is creating a buzz about these crucially important insects – I’ll be doing all I can to help protect our bees in 2013.
Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins added: “I’m delighted Justin Tomlinson 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.”
Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign is asking David Cameron to adopt a National Bee Action Plan:
· to ensure our towns and countryside provide bees with enough flowers to feed on and places to nest;
· to help farmers, gardeners and park keepers to reduce chemicals that harm bees;
· and to protect Britain’s 250+ bee species, not only the ones who make our honey.
From Friends of the Earth
Bee numbers in Britain have fallen dramatically in recent years. Two bumblebee species are already extinct. Scientific evidence confirms that declining bee numbers will impact significantly on the UK’s farming sector, food prices and security, and the quality of the British countryside. For more see our seminal report on bees www.foe.co.uk/beesreport
Bees and other insects help pollinate over 75% of our plants, which in turn are vital to other insects, birds and animals and to our food supply. Since The Bee Cause campaign launched in April, people across Britain have taken over 125,000 actions to help save bees. www.foe.co.uk/bees
For more than 40 years Friends of the Earth has seen that the wellbeing of people and planet go hand in hand – and it’s been the inspiration for their campaigns. Together with thousands of people like you we’ve secured safer food and water, defended wildlife and natural habitats, championed the move to clean energy and acted to keep our climate stable. Be a Friend of the Earth – see things differently. For further information visit www.foe.co.uk