Beekeepers march on Downing Street

NOVEMBER 5, 2008: Angry beekeepers will march on DowningStreet this afternoon (Wednesday, November 5), to demand funding tohalt the rapid demise of the bee population.

According to the president of the BritishBeekeeper Association Tim Lovett, one third of British bee colonieshave been lost over the last year.

He warned that disease and poor husbandry were putting the bee and its benefits at risk.

“We are told English honey will run out around Christmas time – it has been a very, very bad season,” said Mr Lovett.

TheBritish Beekeepers’ Association estimate that pollination, largely byhoney bees, contributes £165 million a year to the agriculturaleconomy.

Beekeepers are asking the Government for an £8 millioninvestment spent over 5 years – with money directed into diseaseresearch, developing medicines, breeding bees resistant to the Varroamite and better husbandry.

Shadow Agriculture Minister, BillWiggin said: “Government investment in bee research should reflect itsimportance to our rural economy, food production and bio-diversity, andnot become some kind of peripheral issue.

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“When I meet with Tim Lovett today I will reassure him that we will make this a research priority for Defra,” he said.