Cornwall LibDems are proud to be protecting Bees

Posted on: 24th November 2016

Creating Healthier Habitats for Bees and Humans!

Cornwall LibDems are proud to be protecting Bees. I was proud to be supporting a motion at Full Council that could improve our environment and reverse the decline of our local bee populations.

A motion tabled by Liberal Democrat councillors to ban the use of certain pesticides that could impact bees from Council owned public access land, was approved by full council on Tuesday. The motion also calls for plans to help protect habitats for bee populations, which are essential for pollination and food production, but that have been in serious decline in recent years.
The motion was proposed by LibDem Councillors Edwina Hannaford, Joyce Duffin and supported by Councillor Sue James. It has been welcomed by Friends of the Earth, the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and many other environmental groups.

Cllr Hannaford said, “I am absolutely delighted!” “Nature and their habitats are in serious decline. We must act quickly to arrest this decline especially for our bees and other pollinators and ensure nature is abundant and thriving.”

“Bees and other pollinators play an essential role in the Earth’s ecosystems. They and other pollinators are vital to our food crops, our gardens and our countryside, but they are declining – some species have become extinct, others are declining in range. Bees help maintain biodiversity and pollinate plants. Bees therefore help keep healthy habitats for people and nature.”

Cllr Duffin added, “Insects pollinate over 80% of crop species and the service we get from pollinators is worth £690m each year in UK. In Cornwall alone crops contribute £53m to Cornwall’s economy.”

“This pollinator decline is due to various external influences. These causes include disease, climate change, loss of habitat and the use of insecticides such as neonicotinoids (‘neonics’). Neonicotinoid use has been linked in a range of studies to adverse ecological effects, including honey-bee colony collapse disorder.”

The motion was also supported by The Friends of the Earth, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, SW Rivers Trust, Cornwall AONB, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership, RSPB and others. All have offered their support in helping the Council to create a pollinators action plan and with research and evidence.

Edwina continued,” I was delighted to receive a petition of 2676 signatures collected by Friends of the Earth in Cornwall.” “I’m grateful for the support of the Friends of the Earth in highlighting the plight of bees.”

The motion sought to ask the Government to commission more scientific research into the impacts of pesticides like Neonicotinoids and Gyphosphates on human health and nature; to cease the use of pesticides from Council owned or managed public access land and create a pollinators action plan that could include;
1.Protecting pollinator habitats via the planning process.
2. Encouraging all new developments to provide for pollinators.
3. Stopping the use of insecticides on local authority land.
4. Establishing wildflower meadows on un-used areas of parks and public greenspace
5. Planting pollinator-friendly plants as part of amenity planting in parks, gardens and green spaces.
6. Planting trees for bees – blossom producing spring flowering trees such as apple, cherry, hawthorn, blackthorn, sallow.
7. Managing road verges for spring and late summer flowers.

Cllr Sue James said, “In the UK, 5 neonicotinoid insecticides are authorised for use in agriculture, plus several available for domestic use as treatments for lawns, houseplants, green house crops and pot plants. These concerns have led to partial bans on the use of some neonicotinoids for specific crops in several European countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia.”

Sue continued, “The World Health Organisation’s cancer agency has recently declared that herbicides that include glyphosate are probably carcinogenic to humans. Glysophate lab trials have shown impact on bee behaviours, although not on their foraging efficiency. I was proud to be support the motion to improve habitats in Cornwall.”

Local authorities already have a Duty to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity in exercising their functions, introduced by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act, which came into force on 1 October 2006. The Duty affects all public authorities.

Edwina concluded,”The action plan has the potential to include benefits for many other species like hedgehogs through better management of our assets, including hedges and road verges, closed churchyards and public open spaces.”

“Bees need our help and we need the help of bees!” said Cllr Hannaford.