Bee numbers are in decline. It is vital that the next Government reverses the worrying fall in bee numbers and the decline in the habitats for bees.
My family keep bees. I know from my own personal experience just how important it is that we take steps to save the bees. We have got to act to reverse the decline in bee numbers. - Luke Pollard
Bees are a vital part of our environment. They are 'essential pollinators' as a technical briefing document described them and that's true. Without bees we wouldn't be able to grow crops, feed ourselves or sustain our way of life. Not bad for a little insect!
The reality is that bee numbers are in decline. We need to act quickly to prevent the decline in bee numbers - both in rural and urban areas. That's why, whilst at Labour Party conference, I signed up to support Friends of the Earth's campaign for a strong Bee action plan.
What would Labour do to help bees?
Press releases and pictures standing alongside a man dressed as a bee is an important part of raising awareness of the decline in bee numbers but it won't prevent the decline. That's why Labour must act to support bees in Government after the General Election next year. This is what Labour will do to help bees:
- The next Labour government will work to secure the recovery of our natural environment in the next Parliament. That means prioritising support for action on climate change and support for local habitats.
- The next Labour Government will bring nature closer to people by ensuring public money makes space for nature where it is needed most.
- The Tory Government has abandoned the natural environment at great cost to our wellbeing and our economy. This isn’t just about bad science it’s about the Tories dangerous idea that growth for the privileged few should trump our environment and our wellbeing.
- Habitat loss and alteration is the most important cause of pollinator decline. That is why the next Labour Government will review the way that public money is spent to ensure that public goods are improved rather than eroded.
- The next Labour government will secure the recovery of our natural environment in the next Parliament. That is what people have a right to expect from a Labour government.
- The next Labour Government will uphold the partial ban on neonicotinoids and conduct a full review of the new evidence collected during the partial ban alongside other European nations.
- In government Labour introduced a fundamental change in environment policy. Instead of focussing on individual species or habitats we took an approach based upon whole ecosystems. The next Labour Government will restore a whole-ecosystems scale approach to our natural environment to meet the challenge of halting and reversing the decline of our pollinators against a background of continuing environmental change and development.
- The last Labour Government made a binding commitment to reverse the decline of biodiversity by 2020 and committed to make space for nature in every region of the UK. That's important and vital if we're to prevent the decline in bees and other vital pollinators.
Locally, there are things that we can all do too:
- Plymouth's Labour Council has created 'Bee verges' on the side of some of our busiest roads. By planting wild flowers and plants that support bees we are expanding the number of habitats and helping bees. We need to do more of this but it is this type of pioneering work from a Labour Council that understands the importance of bees that is important.
- We can buy local honey that supports local producers and keeps food miles down.