I joined a giant bumble bee and campaigners from the environment charity Friends of the Earth last Tuesday to draw attention to the alarming decline in UK bee numbers.
Emily Thornberry was one of more than 125 MPs to show their support for Britain’s threatened bees. Last year Friends of the Earth launched its Bee Cause campaign, which has been backed by more than 80,000 people and calls for the Government to urgently to introduce a National Bee Action Plan aimed at saving our bees.
Bees are not only makers of honey, they are also crucial for pollinating crops and plants. A sharp fall in their number in recent years has led to growing concerns about the impact this may have on our local environment, farmers and the economy.
A study last year found that if bees disappeared it would cost British farmers at least £1.8 billion a year to pollinate their crops by hand - which would cause food prices, such as fresh fruit and veg, to rocket.
Emily Thornberry MP said:
“I am extremely concerned about the rapid decline in British Bees. They’re not only an iconic part of our countryside; they play a vital role in pollinating our crops and flowers too. It’s great news that Friends of the Earth is creating a buzz about these crucially important insects – I’ll be doing all I can to help protect our bees in 2013."
Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said:
“I’m delighted Emily Thornberry MP is showing support for Britain’s threatened bees – they are under severe threat and need all the support they can get.
“People up and down the country can help by creating bee-friendly gardens and habitats to enable bees to thrive, but it is vital that the Government does its bit too by introducing a National Bee Action Plan.”
Read my letter to constituents below:
Dear Sir / Madam,
Thank you for your email about declining bee colonies and the effect that the extensive us of insecticides is having. I apologise for the delay in replying.
I was interested to hear your views on this important matter. The UK is home to over 250 species of bee that are vitally important to the British economy through the pollination that they provide.
£510 million worth of crop sales in the UK are pollinated by bees and other insects every year. Replacing bee pollination with hand pollination could cost farmers £1.8 billion. This would be disastrous for the UK economy. Bee decline is a situation that we cannot afford to ignore.
I have written to the Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon, about your concerns. I enclose a copy of my letter and will be back in touch once I receive a reply.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me in the future, on this matter, or any other.
Emily Thornberry MP