When I chaired a discussion on the National Pollinator Strategy, things unfolded differently to what delegates expected.
The Public Policy Exchange framed the conference around two words: exchange – as in knowledge sharing, and communities – as in farming, urban, scientific and political involving research councils, environmental groups, academia, farm conservation advisors and beekeepers.
Alongside the politician – Huw Merriman MP, were Friends of the Earth, Syngenta, beekeepers and scientists from CEH.
And because politicians always have to be somewhere else, I asked speakers to outline their ’60 second’ executive summary and knowledge of issues (without saying for whom they worked) before the MP departed.
Some responses included: get policy makers into the field – inform and empower planners – manage habitat for food (human and pollinators) – understand farmers better – assess diverse range of solutions. Later the audience provided a brief ‘outtake’ on how matters should progress.
Keys points were that we already have the solutions – sow more flowers, create nesting and hibernation habitats, celebrate good practice, take care with pesticide applications on both crops and with honeybees miticides.
Gaps were on lacking technical skills to monitor the huge range of pollinator species and an ability to engage with those who can do most for pollinators over huge swathes of countryside i.e. farmers. Yes, urban areas are important, but as London is apparently awash with managed honey bees (over 6000 swarms), there is a danger of out-competing wild bees over limited forage available.
Updated June 18, Sept 19, Mar 20