Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 3rd July 2015.

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Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the factors contributing to the decline of the honeybee population.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)

UK honey bees and other pollinators play an essential role in ensuring our food security and sustaining the health of the natural environment. To help inform Defra’s National Pollinator Strategy (NPS), published in November 2014, the department commissioned a report on the ‘Status and Value of Pollinators and Pollination Services’. The report reviewed evidence on threats to pollinators, including the honey bee, and highlighted the many pressures pollinators face. These include aspects of land-use intensification (landscape alteration, cultivation in monocultures and agrochemical use) as well as urbanisation, invasive alien species, the spread of diseases and parasites, and climate change.

The NPS forms a framework for collective action to help manage and raise awareness of the pressures facing pollinators. The strategy seeks to address key gaps in our understanding about the status of pollinators, identifies specific policy and evidence actions for the Government and others, and identifies actions that everyone can take to help expand food, shelter and nest sites; increasing forage will have definite benefits for honey bees. The pressures honey bees face may have been offset by a recorded increase in beekeeping activity since 2008.

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