SNP Hails EU "Plan Bee" for European Bee Recovery

20 November 2008
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Mr Alyn Smith has hailed steps towards a common EU framework to encourage member states to address the dramatic decline in bee populations. Smith has particularly welcomed action at EU level giventhat so much agricultural policy is governed by EU rules.

Smith, the only Scot to speak in the debate, has also hailed as "Plan Bee" a particular list of actions the Agriculture Committee believes are necessary, and called for EU funds to be allocated to them:

  • developing research into the parasites and diseases which are devastating hives;
  • set up ecological pollen- and nectar-rich recovery zones (like apicultural set-aside) and establish buffer zones, for example alongside roads;
  • promote the necessary measures to combat the threat of inadequate pollination, i.e. a complete ban on pesticide treatment whilst crops are in flower and a reduction in the use of modified seed;
  • monitor and control the quality of surface water, as bees react very swiftly to any environmental deterioration; and
  • provide financial aid to apiaries which are in difficulty.

Smith said:

"I hope I'll be forgiven for calling the list of action points "Plan Bee", but it is a serious list of well thought out actions in the light of the failure of "Plan A", the Common Agricultural Policy, to ensure the EU's bee populations remain vibrant.

"Huge swathes of Europe's agriculture, and hence Europe's people, are dependent upon bee pollination and we need to ensure that the catastrophic decline in bee populations is addressed.

"And we in Scotland are well placed to help. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust at Stirling University has an impressive track record in research, and with EU funding could contribute a lot more understanding to this complex area. The Scottish Government also has launched an ambitious honeybee recovery plan, but I am clear that EU action, and in particular EU cash, needs to be allocated to this issue urgently."