Defra’s annual Bees’ Needs Week got underway today (Monday 9 July) with an official launch on London’s Carnaby Street - renamed ‘Carnabee Street’ for the duration of the campaign which runs to Sunday 15 July.
Defra has partnered with Carnaby London, the leading West End shopping and dining destination to promote bee and pollinator action from government, conservation groups, industry and retailers and to raise awareness of what people can do to help bees.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
Bees and other pollinators are vital contributors to the beauty of our landscapes, our economy and our £100 billion food industry.
It is inspiring to see such a wide range of organisations celebrating these essential creatures for this unique Bees’ Needs campaign - showing us that all of us can play a part and help pollinators to thrive.
Recent actions Government has taken to protect bees include:
- The Government is developing a Nature Recovery Network in England to provide 500,000 hectares of additional wildlife habitat, more effectively linking existing protected sites and landscapes, thereby improving access to habitat for pollinating insects;
- In November 2017, the Environment Secretary announced that the Government supported further restrictions on the use of three neonicotinoids due to their harmful effects on bees and other pollinators, and the UK voted in favour of the EU Commission’s proposal in April 2018;
- Since 2015, nearly half (47%) of new Countryside Stewardship agreements included the Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package. The package ensures that a minimum of 3% of the farm is converted to habitat for farm wildlife including pollinators;
- Defra has funded new research by the University of Exeter which has found a way to track the invasive Asian hornet back to the nest. The hornets prey on honeybees so tracking the predator back to the nest will enable inspectors to take swift action and destroy them;
- Defra has provided a home for the rare Black Bee to the hives on the roof of the department’s London building. This particular species was on the verge of extinction a few years ago.
Two schools, St Albans School in Hampshire and Trythall in Cornwall, received a Pollinator Champion Award from Biosecurity Minister Lord Gardiner. The award recognises their invaluable work in helping pollinators thrive.
Presenting the awards at Carnaby Street, Defra Minister for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, Lord Gardiner, said:
It is my pleasure to award the Pollinator Champion Award to St Albans Primary School in Havant and the Trythall Community Primary School from Penzance. I would like to thank these young people and their teachers for their exceptional work in helping to protect these vital pollinators and their dedication in raising awareness of bees’ needs.
Bees’ Needs Week is about celebrating the fact that everyone can get involved by growing more flowers, leaving patches of garden to grow wild, cutting grass less, not disturbing insect nests, and thinking carefully about using pesticides.
The campaign also celebrates the efforts of a wide-range of organisations that will be present in The Hive – a discovery center dedicated to pollinators on Carnaby Street, London:
- The Royal Horticultural Society are handing out pollinator-friendly seed: Blooms for Bees;
The London Honey Company are offering free honey tasting;
Reading University are showcasing their leading research and a Bumblearium has been installed offering people a window into the secret lives of bees;
- Last year’s Pollinator Champion, Rebecca Twigg, will be in the Hive with her fascinating augmented reality bee trail;
Wildflower Turf - the company behind creating the idyllic countryside landscape for the opening ceremony of the London Olympics - have stepped in to decorate the Hive and showcase some of the most beneficial native wildflower habitats for pollinators.
Simon Quayle, Director, Shaftesbury, said:
Shaftesbury is delighted to support the launch of Bees’ Needs Week, on our very own ‘Carnabee’ Street, which is also being backed by many of our occupants in the area. There has been an alarming decline in the pollinators across the UK, which play a vital role and are the unsung heroes in our ecosystem.
We can all play our part in helping to boost the population, even in urban environments. If you take a closer look around our areas of London’s West End you can see we’ve introduced pockets of pollinator friendly plants wherever possible. With hanging baskets and window boxes, green walls and roofs, and even the introduction of rooftop beehives adorning parts of the area, it offers a much-needed oasis for our pollinating friends.
A swarm of activity is taking place in the world-famous shopping destination to raise awareness of Bees’ Needs including:
- Carnaby Street has been renamed ‘Carnabee Street’ and the iconic arch has undergone a bee-themed makeover;
- A pop-up ‘Hive’ will open at 3 Carnaby Street which will host educational and fun games, installations and talks in partnership with Defra alongside charities, universities, businesses and landowners;
- Visitors to Carnaby will be able to follow an art trail around the area’s 14 streets, with illustrated bees by London based artist Lizzie King on the windows of participating shops and restaurants;
- Shops and restaurants located in the world-famous shopping destination have created bespoke bee themed products, menus, cocktails and offers to raise awareness of the Bees’ Needs campaign.