Bees need better protection

Bumblebee on a sweet pea flower

Bumblebee on a sweet pea flower

Penistone Friends of the Earth have told the  government  that their  Pollinator Strategy for England needs strengthening. The group has been working to improve the Penistone area for bees and other wildlife over the past few years and feel that the government should be doing their bit too.

In the Response by Penistone Friends of the Earth to the National Pollinator Strategy Consultation, the group warmly welcomed it, but argued that the strategy could be improved. They think that the report is right to state the importance of bees in pollinating plants and so providing food for people. However, they believe that bees should not only be looked after because they help people, but that nature has a huge value of its own. Bees are not only important for people’s food, but also are a vital part of the food chain for other wildlife including birds, insects and mammals.

Penistone Friends of the Earth have also said that the government should be aiming for much higher numbers of bees than they are – bees have been in decline since World War II. There should be better pesticide testing and more help for farmers and gardeners to create bee-friendly areas.

In the past two years, Friends of the Earth have worked with local communities to create new wildflower areas for bees, butterflies and other insects. Recently the group created a new area of bluebells in Penistone Cemetery by transplanting bulbs from mown areas. In 2013, two new meadows were established in Thurlstone Road Park in collaboration with Barnsley MBC and a third at St Saviour’s Church in Thurlstone.  In addition, wildflowers have been planted in Oxspring, Green Moor and Thurlstone. Another recommendation the group made to the government is that help should be provided to local councils on managing verges, parks and cemetaries. This would mean more wildflower areas like the ones in Penistone, around the country.

Pete Riley from Penistone Friends of the Earth commented:

“The Government’s pollinator strategy is a very positive step towards ensuring that insect pollinators can survive and flourish. However, it needs to be strengthened to ensure that bee numbers increase and survive  through the creation of wildflower areas and protection from toxic chemicals , parasites and disease. Education and investment is needed so that towns and the countryside become more pollinator friendly”.

The group will be holding their second “Bee Safari” starting from the skateboard ramps on the  Show Ground by Trans Pennine Trail on Sunday  11th May at 2pm. The walk will take a couple of hours and end back at the skatepark.

Response by Penistone Friends of the Earth to the National Pollinator Strategy Consultation