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Farron slams Government over bee health

April 10, 2008 10:13 AM

Liberal Democrat MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming Tim Farron today criticised the Government's attitude over bee health in England as "complacent." Mr Farron had recently written to Farming Minister Lord Rooker and issued a public demand that DEFRA act on the threat to the honey bee, which Lord Rooker himself noted contributed an estimated £165m in yields to the English horticulture industry.

In his reply, Lord Rooker dismissed the incidents of Colony Collapse Disorder in Britain (where worker bees in a colony abruptly disappear) as "limited," and although the cases are being looked into, and Lord Rooker noted the upward trend in colony losses, he refused to increase funding.

Commenting, Mr Farron said:

"The minister has dismissed the number of cases of CCD in Britain as "limited" and refuses to increase funding - this smacks of complacency. Also, with regards to the contingency plan for exotic bee pests, surely prevention is better than cure? Merely waiting for a catastrophic outbreak to happen first is akin to shutting the gate after the bull has bolted.

"Bees contribute so much to our country, whether through helping maintain our countryside or contributing to the horticulture industry, that they simply must be protected. DEFRA must act now!"