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PAC on target re honey bee health research

BBKA, Honeybees

The BBKA welcomes the Public Accounts Committee’s concern for the health of honey bees in the light of their contribution to the agricultural economy and Defra’s failure to provide the funding needed for research and provision of solutions to the problems facing the honey bee.

Defra has launched a hybrid fund involving contributions from other bodies such as the BBSRC, NERC and the Wellcome Trust. A total of £10M has been pledged but this fund is for research into ‘pollinator decline’, not honey bee health, for which the BBKA carried out a public campaign, raising 142,000 signatures in support of its £8M programme for honey bee health. Only last month, the Women’s Institute voted overwhelmingly at its AGM for a resolution urging the Government to provide funding for honey bee health, and by implication, against spending the cash available on pollinator decline.

The BBKA strongly supports the PAC demand that funds are ring-fenced for honey bee health research.

Tim Lovett BBKA President said:

“It is excellent news that the PAC underlines the importance of specific funding for honey bee health research. Not only do we need this money but we need to start work urgently on the projects that the BBKA has proposed in its document ‘Honey Bee Health Research Concepts’. This document has sat on Ministers’ and Officials’ desks since its publication in February; to date we have been unable to engage with Defra and its newly formed agency FERA in a discussion of this document with a view to initiating much needed work.”

“The news from Defra that 1,500 beekeepers have this year signed-up to BeeBase, its voluntary registration scheme, is encouraging but should be seen in the context that in the same period BBKA membership has grown by double that figure. We know where all our members are and through the extensive education programmes and examination system run through our Associations, are fully focussed on training new beekeepers and improving bee husbandry. BeeBase can help in our mission, but it must be made fully relevant and attractive to beekeepers. It should offer solutions to problems but that brings us back to research which is needed to find the answers to those problems”


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