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Farron: "DEFRA must act on threat to UK bee population"

February 28, 2008 3:00 PM

Liberal Democrat Countryside Spokesman Tim Farron has today written to Lord Rooker, Minister of State for Sustainable Farming, Food and Animal Welfare, demanding to know what DEFRA is going to do to protect the honey-bee, which is under threat from disease, despite numerous warnings that they are under threat, including a debate in the House of Lords on November 27th.

There are a variety of threats facing the honey-bee population in Britain, whether from the threat of colony collapse disorder, or through a variety of diseases and mites. Even worse, a major threat, the Varroa destructor mite, which was thought to be under control, has become resistant to the chemical treatment used to protect against them. There are also fears that the 'small hive beetle' threat could spread to Britain.

Tim Farron MP said:

"On November 27th Lord Rooker acknowledged two things: firstly, that the honey-bee is of great benefit to the economy and is vital to horticulture, and secondly that the honey bee population could be wiped out in ten years. However, despite these twin admissions, nothing is being done to prevent the death of the honey-bee in Britain. By his own admission in the House of Lords, by not acting and increasing funding for research the Lord Rooker and the Government are virtually signing the death warrant of our domestic bees themselves."

"Put simply, DEFRA must not ignore this crucial issue - bees make an exceedingly valuable, often over looked contribution to our economy (estimates put this at around £165,000,000), and even more importantly help sustain our countryside through pollination. It is high time that honey-bees get the funding and recognition they deserve for the benefits they give to Britain."