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WI welcomes scrutiny on National Pollinator Strategy but Government must still do more to protect pollinators

Following the publication of a report on the draft National Pollinator Strategy, where the National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI) gave evidence, Marylyn Haines Evans, NFWI Public Affairs Chair, said:

"It is really positive to see the National Pollinator Strategy come under some helpful scrutiny after so many calls to ensure a sustainable future for our pollinators.  Whilst the draft Strategy makes some definite progress towards protecting pollinators, the Government needs to ensure a far more joined up approach to guarantee a stable way forward.  Rigorous and transparent research will be a key aspect of identifying exactly what is happening to our bees, but as the Environmental Audit Committee rightly identifies, the Strategy's heavy reliance on industry risks putting the needs of commerce ahead of the needs of bees.  In the meantime, we already have a very good idea of what we need to do to protect our bees and we want to see more action from government to deliver these safeguards.

"Defra's proposed approach on issues such as ensuring the planning system works for pollinators and pesticide use remain too vague.  Leadership is needed to forge a clear way forward to make sure that these important insects are protected for many years to come.  

"WI members have worked tirelessly within their local communities to highlight the plight of honeybees since 2009, but the sustainability of our pollinators cannot be left to voluntary groups and enthusiastic campaigners.  We welcome the Government's efforts to develop the National Pollinator Strategy and hope it will take the Environmental Audit Committee's recommendations on board as it finalises the Strategy for launch this autumn. We look forward to sharing a progressive Strategy with our 212,000 members who are keen to keep working to protect honeybees and other pollinators to ensure a secure future for us all."

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact Rachel Barber on r.barber@nfwi.org.uk / 020 7371 9300 ex. 210

Notes to editors:

  1. The WI has been making the case for bees since 2009, when a resolution was passed at their National Annual Meeting, calling for more research into honeybee decline. As an organisation they have been campaigning for wildflower conservation and the preservation of the countryside since the 1930's with resolutions dating as far back as 1937.
  2. The 2009 SoS for Honeybees resolution reads:
  3. "Honey Bees play a vital role in the pollination of food crops and in our environment. In view of concerns about the accelerating decline in the UK honey bee population, this meeting urges HM Government to increase funding for research into Bee Health."   Hindon & Fonthill Bishop  WI - Wiltshire Federation
  4. The WI is the largest voluntary women's organisation in the UK with more than 212,000 members in 6,600 WIs.  The organisation plays a unique role in enabling women to develop new skills, giving them opportunities to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities, and provides wide-ranging activities for members to get involved in.  For further information please visit http://www.theWI.org.uk