I certainly agree. I know that both a rural and urban approach are needed, and there are ways of doing that. If we consider what we know today, we can make decisions and move things forward.
I was keen, as a new boy in this place, to set up an all-party group on bees, so I am fascinated to hear that that has been done. I knew very little about the subject, so I started exploring it. When I went to one of its events in September, people from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said to me, “Please don’t just go on bees alone; go on all pollinators—the butterflies and everything else. Fine, call it the ‘all-party group on bees’, but we should be looking after all the different insects involved in pollination.”
I had never heard of the solitary bee; what intrigues me about it is that it apparently covers itself in an oil so that it can hide in damp ground. I come from Northern Ireland, where we have lots of damp ground, particularly at the moment, so I imagine we have plenty of solitary bees. The more I got involved in this issue, the more I realised there was to learn.
It has been mentioned today that we have lost 20 species of bee. Let us all learn from that. We need a system that teaches everybody, so that we are all learning about this—children in schools, parents and people in later life, in clubs and in community groups. Let us get everybody involved and learning. That might mean getting councils to use more of their land for beehives and planting the right plants, perhaps at roundabouts and in verges. There are plenty of places we can use.