Loss of bees in the UK will cost nation £1.8 billion annually
On Wednesday, Friends of the Earth (FOE) organised ”The Bee Cause”, a campaign that is urging the government to preserve the rapidly diminishing bee species in the UK.
FOE turned a concrete area in front of the National Theatre, London, into a 150 square meter wildflower meadow to demonstrate the importance of bee-friendly habitats and how easy they are to recreate in an urban setting.
Studies said that 75 percent of the world’s honey bees have already disappeared. Britain in context has lost over half the honey bees kept in managed hives and wild honey bees are nearly extinct. Solitary bees are declining in more than half the areas they’ve been studied and some species of bumblebees have been lost altogether.
Further development along those lines would cost the UK £1.8 billion annually to hand-pollinate crops if bees are to completely vanish from the British landscape, a study by the FOE said.
The University of Reading likened the figure to the equivalent of the annual wages of 60,000 teachers.
One example of costly hand-pollination is demonstrated in the Chinese Hanyuan county where pear trees undergo the whole process through human hands rather than being pollinated by bees, as the native bee populations have been wiped out by a combination of loss of natural habitat and intensive farming.
The environmental charity is urging David Cameron to help these important pollinators that will see the nation save billions by committing to a British bee action plan, which outlines strategies on town planning and the way people farm and use pesticides – one of the biggest aggressors to the bee population decline, as the substance affects the bees’ immune system.
“Unless we halt the decline in British bees, our farmers will have to rely on hand-pollination, sending food prices rocketing,” said Friends of the Earth Nature Campaigner, Paul de Zylva.
“David Cameron must make the changes needed now to give our bees a fighting chance and save Britain billions of pounds.”