Letter from David Aston
Published 5.Mar.2013, 10:41pm
There continues to be substantial media coverage of honey bees and other pollinators which is to be welcomed. A number of campaigns have been launched recently, designed to 'help' bees. There is a risk that these campaigns may confuse the issue. The Government has a clearly articulated policy for honey bees in the form of the Healthy Bee Plan, launched by Defra in 2010. The BBKA contributed substantially to the development of this plan which has a ten year trajectory and continues to support it by our presence and contribution to the work of the Bee Health Advisory Forum and its sub-groups. Thus whilst sympathetic to many of the objects of current campaigns the BBKA does not feel it appropriate to align itself directly with them.
Specifically on the topic of neonicotinoids there is talk of European bans and lots of activity by the European Commission, the European Parliament, national governments, organisations claiming to represent beekeeping and various non-governmental organisations. A number of petitions have been circulating seeking signatures to 'save the bees'. In order to help inform members on developments in this area and to decide whether or not it is appropriate to support these petitions as individuals, I would like to take this opportunity to summarise the current situation in the UK, which of late has gained pace, and the BBKA's position on this topic.