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MPs urge pesticide ban over bees

Ministers have been accused of taking an "extraordinarily complacent approach" to protecting bees and insects from pesticides which are blamed for their numbers declining, MPs have said.

The parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee said the weight of evidence now warranted precautionary action to protect insects such as bees, moths, butterflies and hoverflies, many of which are suffering declines in numbers in the UK.

Pesticides are killing bees at an alarming rate, MPs have said Credit: PA

Concerns have been raised over possible damage to bees from exposure to neonicotinoids, with research suggesting immediate or long-term effects on bee colony survival and development, and disruption to foraging behaviour.

A moratorium on use of three neonicotinoid pesticides on crops such as oil seed rape which bees feed on should be introduced by the beginning of 2014, a report by the committee said.

And their use in private gardens and places such as golf courses should be banned immediately to create "an urban safe haven for bees".

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Bee havens wanted

The number of bees has declined in the UK over the past 30 years. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

A new scheme to find patches of land which can be transformed into havens for bees has been launched by the Co-operative. It is working with the charity Plantlife to find neglected land plots and has asked local people to nominate possible sites.

The most appropriate patches of land will then be transformed by adding plants and flowers. It is hoped bees and other pollinating insects will then thrive there.

The Co-operative says the number of honeybees in the UK has halved in the past thirty years. You can nominate a patch of land by visiting its website.

Wasteland to become wildlife havens

London's unloved land could be transformed into havens for bees and other insects under plans revealed by the Co-operative.

The Co-operative will team up with wildlife charity, Plantlife, to transform several areas of London wasteland into wildflower plots, to help boost the ailing bee population.

People are being asked to nominate small plots of land and two or three areas will be shortlisted in each of seven regions.

Areas of land will be transformed into wildlife havens

Council estate in Southwark transformed with the help of some bees

Part of a council estate in Southwark has been transformed from a squaters paradise to a community of bee lovers. Garages on the Brandon Estate which have been empty for fifteen years have recently been made secure, renovated and refurbished.

Now the locals are looking forward to trying their very own 'Brandon Estate honey' after a bee hive was moved in. Glen Goodman reports

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Friends of the Earth campaign to save the bee

Friends of the Earth campaign to help bees

It would cost £1.8 billion a year to hand-pollinate UK crops without bees, green campaigners claimed today as they launched a scheme to save the insects.

Friends of the Earth said that in recent years, Britain had lost half the honey bees kept in managed hives, wild honey bees were nearly extinct and solitary bees were declining in more than half the UK landscapes where they had been studied.

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