Royal Welsh Show: Honeybee action plan launched

The impact of pesticides on Wales’ honeybee population is to be scrutinised in a bid to halt a major decline of the species.

A comprehensive action plan has been unveiled to protect the future of pollinator-dependent crops and wild flowers.

Welsh government environment minister, John Griffiths, revealed the so-called Pollinator Action plan at the Welsh Bee Keepers Association stand at the Royal Welsh Show.

The strategy is not only aimed at honeybees but managed bees and hoverflies, too.

A fifth of the cropped area in the UK is made up of pollinator-dependent crops, and many wild flowering plants depend on insect pollination for reproduction.

The value of pollinators is said to be worth £430m a year in the UK. Mr Griffiths said this made pollination vitally important to the eco system.

“Pollinator populations have been on the decline for the past 30 years and we know that if we don’t take prompt action this trend will continue,” he said.

The action plan will include more “pollinator-friendly” planting in public areas, such as railway embankments and road verges, and joint working with local authorities on the management of parks and other public green spaces. Nurseries will be encouraged to sell plants that attract pollinators.

A study involving the National Botanic Garden of Wales will look at the impact of pesticides on pollinators.

Friends of the Earth Cymru campaigner, Bleddyn Lake, urged farmers, councils and communities to get on board.

“One-third of our food wouldn’t be available at all without pollinators, and it will cost us heavily if we lose them,” he said.

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