Cornwall Council helping the Bumble Bee

According to research, the Bee has been in decline for several years.  Pollinators are vital to the environment, for human health and to the economy, yet, in recent decades, the UK has seen losses affecting over 80% of our butterfly species, crashes in honey bee colonies and the extinction of two bumble bee species. 80% of plant species in Europe are insect pollinated, including crops and wild plants. Therefore, the value of pollinators cannot be ignored because they play a very important part in our ecosystem; more important than most people will know.

The decline of the Bee and other pollinators is due to various external influences. These causes include disease, climate change, loss of habitat and the use of insecticides such as neonicotinoids (‘neonics’). Neonicotinoid use has been linked in a range of studies to adverse ecological effects, including honey-bee colony collapse disorder.

In looking at how we as Councillors can help the Bee and other pollinators, a group of Councillor put forward a motion for certain things to happen. From a series of work a report was compiled on what could be done to help the Bee.

One of the main aspects of this work has is how Cornwall Council can look into how it uses such chemicals not only on a roads and hedges, but in other areas like in our playing and agriculture. The another main point is helping the Bee with pollinators.

A final decision on how Cornwall Council can help the Bee and other pollinators was subject to a debate at the meeting of the full council. That approved recommendation is as follows:

  1. A letter be drafted to express that ‘This Council calls upon the Government to fund extensive research into the hazards of glyphosate and neonicotinoids on human health and the environment’;
  1. In a proactive effort to reverse the destruction of the bees and pollinators and to protect human health, Cornwall Council ceases the use of neonicotinoids and ceases the use of glyphosate, as funding becomes available for alternative treatments, on all public access land (to include office, depot, housing surroundings, highways, street scene and natural environment assets) that it owns or manages or is managed by its arm’s length companies, with the exception of use for the control of Schedule 9 plants under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, such as Japanese Knotweed, or where it is used to reduce material risks to asset integrity.  Cornwall Council to review the impacts of this in 2018;
  1. Work be undertaken with the Farms Panel and the Housing and Environment and Planning Policy Advisory Committees towards achieving a reduction in usage of neonicotinoids and glyphosates on County Farms through a detailed and ongoing review of good practice and evidence, engaging with the farming sector and its representatives.
  1. Cornwall Council ceases the use of neonicotinoids and glyphosate on land developed for capital projects, with the exception of use in the control of Schedule 9 plants under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, such as Japanese Knotweed, or where it is used to reduce material risks to asset integrity;
  1. Cornwall Council prepares and implements a Pollinators Action Plan;

I believe this is a start, but as was pointed out at the meeting, anyone can go into supplier and purchase one of these chemicals and spay with abandonment.

There also needs to be a greater understanding of the impact on the farming industry. An unintended consequences of banning/restricting certain chemicals, could effect farming.

The Council report can be found HERE