Did you know that the UK Government published a policy paper entitled Bees and other pollinators: their health and value in July of this year?
The paper (download here) was published by DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and is intended to form the basis for a National Pollinator Strategy which will bring together pollinator-friendly initiatives and provide an umbrella strategy for new action.
The DEFRA paper has all sorts of interesting facts – like did you know that there are 24 species of wild bumblebees and about 230 solitary bee species in the UK? (Solitary bee species are different from honeybees in that they don’t form colonies). And that pollination by insects is thought to be the main reproductive mechanism in 78% of temperate flowering plants?
It also talks about beekeepers – there used to be about 80,000 beekeepers in the UK at the end of WWII, but this has dropped to about 27,000 (although much better than the 15,000 registered in 2008).
Friends of the Earth (at whose conference the idea of the National Pollinator Strategy was launched) are calling on the government to make sure that the discussions that will form part of the strategy are bold and ambitious. You can sign their ‘The Bee Cause’ petition here.
We’ll be following the strategy development with interest – we’ll keep you posted on what happens, but if you’d like to get involved, contact us for more information!