Local day of bee-friendly action in Eastbourne

This is the press release to the local media that was put out today:

A group from Eastbourne & District Friends of the Earth took part in a day of action to help bees in Gildredge Park, Eastbourne on Saturday 18 May.

Joining dozens of other groups around the country, they were making a difference to the plight of the humble bumble, honey and solitary bees that boost British agriculture by at least £1.8 billion a year.

The group hosted a Bee World Ceremony at to celebrate the creation of a brand new Bee Bed – a newly-created area of bee-friendly wildflowers, trees and shrubs – in Gildredge Park, adding to the 16 now created throughout the Eastbourne area since Eastbourne Borough Council unanimously adopted the Bee Cause in 2012.

Taking part in the installation of a special Bee World plaque within the Bee Bed, the group was joined by Eastbourne Borough Councillors Annabelle West, John Ungar, Steve Wallis Pat Rodohan and James Murray, and by Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne, together with members of the Friends of Manor Gardens & Gildredge Park, who helped create the Bee Bed.

The action is part of The Bee Cause, a highly successful campaign, launched last year by Friends of the Earth to help save Britain’s bees that has already seen the Welsh Government announce plans to implement a Bee Action Plan.

In recent years, many species of British bee have been declining, placing our food supply and economy under threat. Research by Friends of the Earth shows that without bees, it would cost the UK at least £1.8 billion every year to hand-pollinate our crops – a cost British farmers and consumers cannot afford.

Loss of natural habitat is one of several causes of the decline, along with the growing use of chemical pesticides and herbicides, and diseases and pests affecting hives of honey bees.

In response to the problem, Friends of the Earth is running The Bee Cause campaign. Campaigners in Eastbourne are calling on David Cameron to commit to a National Bee Action Plan to save bees and save the country billions of pounds in the future. To support this action and find out what else you can do to help bees, join The Bee Cause at http://www.foe.co.uk/bees.

Andrew Durling, from Friends of the Earth, said: “We were really pleased to see some of the positive local action for bees – the way Eastbourne is planned and managed can make a great deal of difference to bees. However we’ve got a long way to go if we’re going to reverse the decline and keep our food supply secure. Everyone in Eastbourne can do their bit for bees. Even a small number of wildflowers or herbs in a window-box can provide food for bees and help them thrive. The council can help by planting bee friendly flowers in the parks that it manages, improving the way it plans housing and other development in the area, and our MPs can support bees by getting David Cameron to draw up a National Bee Action Plan.”

Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne, who took part in the day said: “I’ve been interested in bees since reading an article 15 years ago on the relevance of bees to pollinating our crops and flowers. I am absolutely delighted to support the bee initiative both locally and in parliament, as I have done for a long time.  I particularly want to pat Eastbourne Borough Council and Friends of the Earth on the back for having planted 16 bee friendly beds since September 2012″.

Stephen Lloyd has joined more than 170 MPs in signing Friends of the Earth’s statement calling for a National Bee Action Plan.

ENDS

1. To read a briefing on the report by Friends of the Earth on bees, visit http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/bees_report_briefing.pdf. To read the full report visit http://www.foe.co.uk/beesreport.

2. The Bee Cause campaign is supporting individuals to make change in their gardens and communities to help bees, and asking the Prime Minister to commit to a National Bee Action Plan. To support the call to David Cameron and find out what else you can do to help bees, visit The Bee Cause webpage http://www.foe.co.uk/bees.

3. For more than 40 years we’ve seen that the wellbeing of people and planet go hand in hand – and it’s been the inspiration for our campaigns. Together with thousands of people like you we’ve secured safer food and water, defended wildlife and natural habitats, championed the move to clean energy and acted to keep our climate stable. Be a Friend of the Earth – see things differently. For further information visit http://www.foe.co.uk.

4. Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign is asking David Cameron to adopt a National Bee Action Plan:

To ensure our towns and countryside provide bees with enough flowers to feed on and places to nest.

To help farmers, gardeners and park keepers to reduce chemicals that harm bees.

To protect Britain’s 250+ bee species, not only the ones who make our honey.

5. More than a quarter of MPs, including Ministers and Shadow Ministers, have signed Friends of the Earth’s joint statement calling for a bee action plan. They are joined by a number of organisations including:

a. The Co-operative Group

b. National Federation of Women’s Institutes

c. National Beekeeping Centre Wales

d. International Bee Research Association

e. Bees for Development

f. Natur Cymru

g. Snowdonia Society

h. Garden Organic

i. Eco congregation

j. Essex Beekeepers Association

k. Newcastle Beekeepers Association

l. Conway Beekeepers Association

m. Melvita

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