Honey bees contribute directly to local food production and make a very important contribution, through pollination, to crop production and the wider environment.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Welsh Government have recently published a Healthy Bees Plan 2030 to protect and improve the health of honey bees in England and Wales.
This plan set out 4 key points.
1. Effective bio security and good standards of husbandry, to minimise pest and disease risks and so improve the sustainability of honey bee populations.
2. Enhanced skills and production capability/capacity of beekeepers and bee farmers.
3. Sound science and evidence underpinning the actions taken to support bee health.
4. Increased opportunities for knowledge exchange and partnership working on honey bee health and wider pollinator needs.
The Healthy Bees Plan 2030 was developed in consultation with bee health stakeholders and is aimed at sustaining the health of honey bees and beekeeping in England and Wales over the next decade.
Thriving plants and wildlife are part of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and one of the six environmental outcomes the government has committed to delivering through the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme.
Helping farmers to provide rich habitat for pollinators is one way in which ELM will help deliver the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and support farmers to produce world-class food in a sustainable way.
The Government’s Nature Recovery Network will restore 75% of protected sites as well as creating or restoring 500,000 hectares of additional wildlife-rich habitat.
The National Bee Unit maintains a voluntary database of active beekeepers called BeeBase.
Beekeepers that are not registered with BeeBase are strongly encouraged to get in touch with the NBU online to register with BeeBase for free. Registration provides the beekeeper with a free visit from their local bee inspector and access to a wide range of information on their craft.