Bees in North Tyneside will enjoy a boost thanks to a new project. Recent decades have seen a decline in the number of bees across the country. But now North Tyneside Council has made a commitment to ensure the future of the borough's most busy insects.
From the creation of bee habitats, the introduction of hives in a number of parks, to resident awareness workshops and education in schools, the council has put together a plan to increase and conserve bees in the area.
Councillor John Stirling, cabinet member for Sustainable Development, said: "People don't often appreciate just how important bees are to us - honeybees, for example, are vital to our food chain. It's estimated that one third of our food is pollinated by the insects, so the decline is worrying.
"Garden plants and agricultural crops need bees to bring about pollination and some rely entirely on pollination for their reproduction - pollen really is the gold dust of nature.
"I'm delighted, therefore, that we have begun work on this vital scheme - we have already started to create and enhance habitats for our bees, in appropriate areas, which will help to ensure their future."
The decline of bees has been caused by a number of reported factors including the use of pesticides, diseases affecting honeybees, lack of habitats for them and excessive mowing of grass. To help, plans to increase wildflower planting across North Tyneside will create another environment for the insects to flourish and nest, as well as providing bee-friendly flowers for them to feed upon.
Every school in the area will be offered help developing habitat areas for bees, and officers will work with staff and children to teach them about why they're needed and how to look after them.
Residents will also be engaged with through workshops, where demonstrations will be held to show how they can help by gardening for bees at home. The project in the borough is part of the 10 year Newcastle and North Tyneside Biodiversity Plan, which consists of a series of plans for priority habitats and species in the two areas.
Carol Musgrove, a volunteer at North Tyneside Friends of the Earth, said: "It's great that the council are taking action for bees. We've got over 260 species of wild bees in Britain, and all of them are crucial to producing most of our fruit and vegetables, as well as many of the flowers we enjoy in our gardens.
"But our bees are in serious decline and need our help.
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