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.