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There was a real buzz at Bangor Town Hall when the Alliance representatives secured support for their proposal that North Down Borough Council investigates ways to increase bee numbers through, for example, provision of bee hives and varying types of plants used in Council Parks.
Whilst some may consider the issue of declining bee numbers to be trivial and without consequence, many realise that without pollinating bees our entire existence threatened. It should not be forgotten that a third of the food we eat is pollinated by bees. Albert Einstein realised this when he remarked ‘If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man’
Research recently undertaken reports that the number of bees and bee friendly flowers have been falling together. The reasons for the decline are varied and include the increased use of pesticides, air pollution, existence of parasites, reduction in plant diversity due to the mismanagement of our countryside plus a decline in beekeepers and the more violent weather changes experienced as a result of climate change.
Alderman Mrs Anne Wilson who co-sponsored the motion remarked: “The decline in the number of bees poses a major threat not just to honey production but to the pollination of plants and to food production. The Royal Horticulture Society recommends that the public become beekeepers, provide nest sites for bees and grow flowers that bees like. I believe the Council with its acres of parkland and dozens of flowerbeds can, if properly managed, provide the necessary habitat to encourage the growth of the bee population. For example I personally have planted a range of plants including buddleia lilac lavender and forsythia in my garden. It appears bees particularly like yellow and blue flowers.”
Concluding, Alderman Mrs Wilson remarked: “Our motion involves no additional cost but requires a report on issues such as types of flowers and scrubs planted, the use of pesticides and possible sites for beehives. We are particularly pleased that our motion was supported by all members and look forward to the officers report as to how we can help reverse this decline in the bee population.”
Motion passed “Council notes with concern the reduction in bee numbers which has occurred in recent years, potential negative impact on our eco-system and requests that officers bring back a report detailing current and potential actions to be taken by the Council without any additional cost to increase bee numbers such as beehives and varying type of plants used in Council Parks.” Decision to approve the motion was ratified at full Council Meeting held end on 28 February 2012.