Lincolnshire farmers, nature campaigners, politicians, businesses and individuals are coming together to discuss action to save the county’s bees at a public meeting on Thursday 11 September, organised by Friends of the Earth.
People interested in finding out about the plight of bees and how they can be part of local measures to protect them, such as restoring wildflower meadows and curbing pesticide use, are invited to join the free 7pm meeting at The Drill Hall in Lincoln.
Numbers of bees have been declining at an alarming rate over recent decades: more than 20 UK bee species are already extinct and about a quarter of the remaining 267 species are at risk.
This matters because these vital pollinators put food on our plates and keep our gardens, countryside and farms thriving.
Britain’s largest bumblebee, the Large Garden Bumblebee, is especially in need of help locally as it’s particularly dependent on habitats like fenlands and other wet grassland areas found in Lincolnshire and the East Midlands, such as Gosberton Clough, South Lincolnshire and Eaton on the Hill near Stamford.
At the meeting, Friends of the Earth’s nature campaigner Sandra Bell will urge the government to improve its new national Bee Action Plan to protect pollinators, due to launch in October, so that it tackles all the threats bees face, from pesticides to how land is used.
Toxic pesticides and habitat loss are major factors causing the drop in bee populations. 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have disappeared in the past 60 years.
Ms Bell said: “It’s clear that many people in Lincolnshire are deeply concerned about the loss of our bees and are taking action to protect them locally.
“The government must do its bit nationally too, with a stronger Bee Action Plan that provides better support for farmers to create new habitat for bees and reduce their reliance on pesticides, and ensures new developments built to tackle the housing shortage include bee-friendly green spaces too.”
Over 70% of UK land is farmed, so what happens there is pivotal to bee heath.
Lincolnshire farmer Peter Lundgren will talk about how he is successfully and profitably growing wheat and oil seed rape without using bee-harming neonicotinoids as pesticides, and call for more Government support to help farmers.
Mr Lundgren said: “The government seems to suggest that things such as simply providing a few wildflowers is sufficient, but we need to ensure the whole farm environment is as safe as possible for bees.
“Farmers can limit our effect on bees, but we need to control pests sympathetically and use the full knowledge available about things such as plant breeds and companion cropping.”