Monthly Archives: August 2012

Campaigners call for national bee action plan

Bee

Under threat: bees play a vital part in our lives.

During a recent walk near Finchley, I came across a warning sign urging me to “approach with care, we have bee hives here.”

Curiosity got the better of me and I couldn’t resist taking a closer look and, sure enough, behind a gate there stood two big hives with hundreds of bees working busily away inside.

The UK is home to over 250 species of bee, including honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees. They are important to our food supply and our economy, but they are declining at a worrying rate and action is needed to help them. Three bee species have become extinct and managed honey bee colonies, like the one I saw, fell by 53% between 1985 and 2005.

A new report by Friends of the Earth calls for action in several areas across Government, including looking at the way we farm our land and the way we plan our towns and cities.

The charity is calling on David Cameron to urgently draw up a National Bee Action Plan to reverse bee decline. It says the Prime Minister needs to work across Whitehall and with local and devolved governments – and with farmers, businesses and government agencies – to ensure that effective action for bees is put in place across the UK.

Friends of the Earth believe the Government’s new pesticides plan (being drafted this summer) must act to protect bees by phasing out use of those pesticides most harmful to bees, including suspending use of neonicotinoids while the latest evidence is reviewed, and help farmers find safer alternatives

The charity has launched an online petition and is organising a series of Bee Cause events around the UK. These include two bee walks organised by the local Hounslow and Brentford group  on 2 and 8 September at Boston Manor Park, and a Bee Friendly planting in Highbury Park on 22 September.  

Pic: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The wild heart of Finchley

There is a delightful meadow hidden away in the heart of North London’s suburbs. Purchased for public recreation in 1912, Long Lane Pasture was neglected for many years and recently threatened by a housing development.

Now under the management of the Long Lane Pasture Trust, volunteers are working here to restore the site to benefit its wildlife and the local community. Visitors are welcome to the pasture, which lies close to Long Lane and Finchley Fire Station, and if you register as Friend you can help its restoration.

I discovered the site accidentally while out walking last Sunday and was impressed by the many informative signs that are dotted around the pasture. These give visitors interesting details about the various wild flowers and wildlife you can find here.

Long Lane Pasture is open every weekend 10am – 5pm, and on 8 September, 10am-1pm, there is a Bees, Spiders and Bugs Day. For more details, visit http://www.longlanepasture.org

Mallard

Mallards and moorhens live in the pasture’s large pond. Pic: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yeo must quit over Heathrow

This passionate blog about the environmental threats of a third Heathrow runway caught my eye yesterday. Tim Yeo, who is a former environment minister, used to be opposed to the expansion of Heathrow, but now says the environmental objections to it are disappearing.

Write priorities

HOW APT that on the day that Tim Yeo campaigns for a third Heathrow runway, American scientists revealed that the Arctic ice has shrunk to its smallest size ever.

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Arctic ice melts to record low

The ice sea in the Arctic Ocean has melted to its lowest extent ever, according to new data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado.

The extent of ice observed on Sunday broke a record set five years ago and will likely melt further with several weeks of summer still to come.  The alarming new figures show that the Arctic has already lost more ice than ever before in recorded history – and it’s still melting.

You can support Greenpeace’s campaign to save the Arctic by visiting http://www.savethearctic.org

Image

Don’t kill the Arctic!

Well done to Greenpeace activists who climbed the side of Prirazlomnaya, a floating oil platform in Russia’s Pechora Sea, on Friday to protest about oil drilling in the Arctic.

The six activists, who included Greenpeace executive director Kumi Naidoo, spent several hours hanging off the side of the giant oil platform, interrupting its operations.

A report by Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund, issued last week, said that a spill from the oil platform could contaminate protected areas and nature reserves on the shore and islands within 20 hours, while emergency teams would take at least three days to reach the area.