Backing Our Bees!

October 27, 2009 8:45 PM

Newcastle East Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman Greg Stone has signed up to help save Britain's bees. This issue has been championed by Lib Dem Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable - who was mocked by Labour for calling for more investment in bee research, only for them to change their tune when they realised the scale of the problem.

Greg said "I am pleased to say that I have a bee-friendly garden and my Lib Dem colleagues in Newcastle East will shortly be bringing forward a motion to the city council in support of this campaign. It may sound a trivial issue but bees are a crucial part of British biodiversity and have a hugely important effect on the environment"

Honeybees in Britain and throughout the rest of the world are continuously under threat of being wiped out by a number of diseases against which they have no natural defenses. Since winter 2007, there has been a 30% reduction in the population of domestic honeybees due to attack from parasites.

The honeybee plays a vital role within the planet's eco-system, pollinating 70% of the food that we eat. Bees contribute over £165 million per year to agricultural output, and losses of bees can have very negative consequences, including a decline in plant and animal life. Additionally, honeybees alone contribute nearly £200 million a year to the UK's economy.

Despite their importance, the UK Government only spent £200,000 in 2007-08 on research into honeybees and how to protect them. Having now realised the extent of the problem, the British Government has pledged around £2 million in funding for bee health and research over five years. Without proper understanding of how the bees are affected by pests and diseases we cannot safeguard them against attack.

There are a number of things that you can do to help bees, such as planting bee-friendly plants in your garden or becoming a beekeeper yourself. The loss of flower-rich habitats such as hedgerows, meadows and grassland, which bees depend on for their food, has increased over the last 70 years, causing yet more danger for the bees. Simply including plants such as sunflowers, lavender, roses and many others can help improve the health of our bees.

f you would like to learn more about this issue or get involved, please visit the Save Our Bees campaign website at www.saveourbees.org.uk.