Henry Smith MP has given his support to the Friends of the Earth Bee World initiative, in the House of Commons on Thursday, 5th November.
“I was pleased to have the opportunity to raise with the Environment Secretary the great work of Friends of the Earth in campaigning to establish small bee habitats across the country.
“It’s always a pleasure to meet with Friends of the Earth in Westminster and I am grateful to them for keeping me up-to-date with their efforts.
“A number of people in Crawley contact me about the important issue of protecting bees and their environment, I am pleased to report back that the Government are supporting such schemes with the National Pollinator Strategy.
“I was also pleased to learn from the Environment Secretary that her department have beehives on the roof of their offices!”
On Monday, 9th November, the Minister of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment, George Eustice MP, outlined areas of progress with regard to bees, which include:
- The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which is aiming to sign up 2,000 volunteers by 2019 to engage the public on pollinator friendly projects
- The RHS’ Perfect for Pollinators initiative, which has created plant lists to help gardeners identify plants that will provide nectar and pollen for bees and the many other types of pollinating insects
- The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has also installed two beehives on the roof of its building in Westminster, and last month celebrated its first yield of ‘Whitehall Honey’
The actions in the National Pollinator Strategy implementation plan come under five key themes:
- Supporting pollinators on farmland
- Supporting pollinators across towns, cities and the countryside
- Enhancing the response to pest and disease risks
- Raising awareness of what pollinators need to survive and thrive
- Improving evidence on the status of pollinators and the service they provide
The National Pollinator Strategy, launched last year, encourages people to support pollinators – from major landowners to councils and window-box gardeners – by taking five simple steps to help pollinators known as the ‘Bees Needs’:
- Grow more flowers, shrubs & trees
- Let it grow wild
- Cut grass less often
- Don’t disturb insect nests and hibernation spots
- Think carefully about whether to use pesticides
Henry Smith, Member of Parliament for Crawley, asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs;
“I congratulate the Government on last year starting the national pollinator strategy. Will my right hon. Friend join me in welcoming the establishment of small bee habitats, particularly in urban areas, as set out by the BeeWorld initiative?”
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Rt Hon Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, responded;
“We are leading the way at DEFRA because we not only have beehives on our roof that have produced their first honey, but have established a pollinator-friendly garden with plants that attract pollinators. Putting in these pollinator-friendly plants is something that anybody can do, at school or at home.”
Also on 5th November, Henry received a response to his Written Parliamentary Question on the National Pollinator Strategy.
Henry Smith, Member of Parliament for Crawley, asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP;
“To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the National Pollinator Strategy since its publication in November 2014.”
The Minister of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment, George Eustice MP, responded;
“We have established a programme of research to accurately assess our effectiveness, including a national framework for monitoring of pollinators. Over half of mid–tier applications to Countryside Stewardship contain the Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package. Monitoring and evaluation of the scheme makes provisions for assessing the impact on pollinators. The Implementation Plan sets out details on progress with the Strategy and will be published shortly.”
For video of Henry’s Question, please visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ty0L9z7hrk
Picture: Henry Smith MP at a Friends of the Earth event in Parliament, June 2015