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"DEFRA 'dangerously out of touch' over threat to bee population" says Farron

November 5, 2008 12:00 AM

Tim with members of the British Bee Keeping AssociationShadow Secretary of State for DEFRA was Tim Farron was on hand today to welcome members of the British Beekeepers' Association who gathered in Parliament to deliver their petition to 10 Downing Street demanding an increase in the amount of funding for research on bee health.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"What many people don't know is that honey bees are the unsung hero of our agricultural economy and aren't just responsible for producing honey. The Western honey bee plays a vital role within the planet's eco-system, pollinating 70% of the food that we eat and contributing over £165 million per year to agricultural output.

"Since the winter of 2007, there has been a 30% reduction in population due to the Varroa destructor mite, which is destroying bee colonies and is resistant to most approved medications. Yet, despite this, the budget commissioned for bee health research and development is lower in real terms now than in 2001.

"The current level of funding is set at paltry £200,000, which just goes to show how dangerously out of touch DEFRA is with the problem. Put simply, if the bee disappears then within four years man will follow. Fewer bees means less pollination, a decline in plant life and therefore a huge blow to animal life."