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Bee summit aims to 'get Bristol buzzing'

Nadine Mitschunas

9 February 2015

Over 100 delegates will gather in Bristol today [9 February] for the largest local summit of its kind, being held to help bees and other pollinating insects.

The summit is jointly hosted by the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, Bristol City and South Gloucestershire Councils, Avon Wildlife Trust, Buglife and Friends of the Earth.

It's part of 'Get Bristol Buzzing', an initiative to make life better for pollinating insects in Bristol, which was launched last month as the city began its year as European Green Capital.

The food we eat and the parks and gardens we enjoy are dependent on a host of insect pollinators, including bees, butterflies and hoverflies. However, these important insects are under threat and in decline globally as well as in the UK.

Scientists, councils and conservation organisations in the city aim to reverse that decline by working together to provide a joined-up approach to pollinator conservation.

The organisations have already teamed up to produce a draft Pollinator Strategy for the greater Bristol area. The summit today will bring together many of the groups and individuals taking pollinator-friendly actions across the city area for the first time. It aims to join up actions that are already happening and stimulate more. The summit will be chaired by Charlotte Leslie MP in the morning and Kerry McCarthy MP in the afternoon.

Dr Katherine Baldock,  of the University of Bristol’s Urban Pollinators Project, said: “Our research shows that cities can provide high quality homes and food for bees and other insects. But we need to do much more to recognise and safeguard the places they need as well as improve many parts of the city that provide little in the way of food for pollinators. This summit is a major opportunity to do just that."

Mike Birkin, South West Campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: “Thanks to the pressure from hundreds of thousands of members of the public, the government has recognised the plight of pollinators and come up with an action plan. The summit is a first chance to bring this to life in a local area. The support of two of our Bristol MPs is a welcome sign that the plight of bees is being taken seriously."

Andrew Whitehouse, South-West manager of Buglife, said: “Our pollinating insects are suffering dramatic declines, and these have knock-on effects on human health and the health of our countryside. If we want our children and grandchildren to be able to enjoy the benefits of cities and landscapes alive with insects and flowers then we must act together now to get Bristol buzzing."

Dr Lucy Rogers, Director of Conservation Programmes at Avon Wildlife Trust, said: “The amazing attendance list for the summit shows just how much is going on around Bristol already. The Green Capital year is a great opportunity to celebrate that, and to bring many more people on board."


Further information

The Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol

The Cabot Institute carries out fundamental and responsive research on risks and uncertainties in a changing environment.   It drives new research in the interconnected areas of climate change, natural hazards, water and food security, low carbon energy, and future cities.  Its research fuses rigorous statistical and numerical modelling with a deep understanding of social, environmental and engineered systems – past, present and future. It seeks to engage wider society by listening to, exploring with, and challenging its stakeholders to develop a shared response to 21st Century challenges.

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