Rochdale Borough Council has been a hive of activity in recent years, as it plays its part in preserving the British bee population.
Safeguarding measures have been put in place to protect bee colonies, which are responsible for pollinating around 80 per cent of our food and are increasingly in danger of extinction.
Council Leader, Councillor Richard Farnell said:
“The bee population is vital to the sustainability of the environment, with a single bee colony capable of pollinating around 300 million flowers a day. It’s unlikely that humans could survive a total bee collapse.
"The Environmental Management service has been implementing measures designed to preserve the bee population and I encourage residents and businesses to do the same.”
Over the last few decades there has been a 60 per cent decline in the number of bees recorded in the UK, due to unsustainable agriculture, diseases and habitat degradation.
The problem is thought to be so severe that the UK Government launched an “urgent and comprehensive” review in 2013, with the findings influencing a new ‘national pollinator strategy.'
In Rochdale borough the Friends of Hopwood Park have created an insect hibernation hotel and wildflower meadow, with the aid of council rangers, while the Balderstone Park Friends were supported in their pursuit of a lottery grant for a wet-wildflower meadow.
Sandra Trickett, the chairperson of the Friends of Hopwood Park, said: “The wildflower meadow at Hopwood has brought a significant increase in both bee and butterfly population. Prior to the meadow it was rare to see any wildlife but now it is highly populated with bees.
"The bug hotel is relatively new and we’re still waiting for residents to move in.”
Likewise, KESRA community group in Milkstone and Deeplish received council assistance for the creation of a wildflower meadow and an area of herbaceous flowers, which have become a year round nectar source for bees.
Councillor Jacqui Beswick, Cabinet Member for Housing and Environment, said:
“In 2014, efforts to promote bee sustainability were encouraged and supported by the council throughout the borough.
This follows the planting of known bee nesting areas, such as flower meadows and orchards between 2011 and 2013.”
The borough’s youngsters have also been encouraged to bee-lieve in the importance of a healthy bee population by council rangers. Along with leading regular community bee-promotion activities, the rangers have developed a ‘Bernard Bee’ engagement pack, to be used as a school learning aid.
Councillor Beswick added: “Environmental Management also limits its pesticide use to where it is absolutely essential and reviews this in accordance with new legislation, on an annual basis.”
Information and commitments on habitat management, for a variety of wildlife including bees, is soon to be published in the councils’ Park and Open Spaces Strategy.
Lucy Rothstein, Chief Executive of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), said: "We applaud the good work of this council and are keen to encourage more to follow its lead.
“The Bumblebee Conservation Trust was established because of serious concerns about the 'plight of the bumblebee'. In the last 80 years our bumblebee populations have crashed. Two species have become nationally extinct and several others have declined dramatically.”
For more information on how you can promote a healthy bee population contact the Environmental Management Team on 0300 303 8844 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm on Saturday or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The television presenter, journalist and well known bee-keeping enthusiast Bill Turnbull, who is best known for presenting BBC Breakfast, will be hosting an event at this year’s Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival. On Sunday 26 October he’ll be talking about his life in front of the camera, his love of bee-keeping and revealing what it’s like to cover breaking world news. To book your place visit rochdaleliteraturefestival.co.uk/whats-on/bill-turnbull/
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