Sadly, it's not often that I can say something positive about Cornwall Council but I'll make an exception now as I've just become aware of a recent initiative of theirs which has resulted in a report about what the Council can do to help the bee. The report lead to a debate at a meeting of the full council and the following recommendations were approved (forgive the 'council speak' as I thought it worth copying verbatim from the council's website):
- A letter be drafted to express that ‘This Council calls upon the Government to fund extensive research into the hazards of glyphosate and neonicotinoids on human health and the environment’;
- In a proactive effort to reverse the destruction of the bees and pollinators and to protect human health, Cornwall Council ceases the use of neonicotinoids and ceases the use of glyphosate, as funding becomes available for alternative treatments, on all public access land (to include office, depot, housing surroundings, highways, street scene and natural environment assets) that it owns or manages or is managed by its arm’s length companies, with the exception of use for the control of Schedule 9 plants under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, such as Japanese Knotweed, or where it is used to reduce material risks to asset integrity. Cornwall Council to review the impacts of this in 2018;
- Work be undertaken with the Farms Panel and the Housing and Environment and Planning Policy Advisory Committees towards achieving a reduction in usage of neonicotinoids and glyphosates on County Farms through a detailed and ongoing review of good practice and evidence, engaging with the farming sector and its representatives.
- Cornwall Council ceases the use of neonicotinoids and glyphosate on land developed for capital projects, with the exception of use in the control of Schedule 9 plants under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, such as Japanese Knotweed, or where it is used to reduce material risks to asset integrity;
- Cornwall Council prepares and implements a Pollinators Action Plan;
But following the Council's example, there are things that I can, and will do, in our garden to help bees and other pollinators. I don't use pesticides (oh, what fun I have picking caterpillars off my brassicas and gooseberries) and I have some 'untamed' areas that are wildlife friendly. Where I think improvements can be made is in the provision of more pollinator friendly flowers. I'm going to give this a little more thought and make it a project for 2017. And that sounds suspiciously like a New Year's Resolution.