Healthy Bees Plan: Beekeeping is on the rise in Britain

Between 2009 and 2019, the amount soared from 108,649 to 212,054, environment minister Rebecca Pow has revealed. She said that the increase is down to the successful Healthy Bees Plan, launched by Gordon Brown's government in 2009. The scheme was created as part of a bid to reverse a dramatic decline in the number of bees amid concerns this could lead to an environmental disaster, with the loss of pollinators for crops and plant life.

Ms Pow said: "The first stage [of the Healthy Bees Plan] included a drive to increase our knowledge of the number and location of honey bee colonies.

"This meant promoting the benefits to beekeepers of registering their managed honey bee colonies on the National Bee Unit's voluntary website, BeeBase.

"Since 2009, the number of colonies in England and Wales recorded on BeeBase has increased from 108,649 to 212,054 in 2019.

"However, some of this increase will be due to new registrations of existing beekeepers, rather than being entirely made up of new colonies or beekeepers." She added: "Knowing the location of beekeepers and their honey bee colonies has improved our ability to manage bee pests and diseases, raising husbandry standards through the sharing of best practice.

"In addition to better recording of colony numbers, it is thought beekeeping itself has also seen a revival. Respondents to a recent Government survey indicated that pleasure, production of honey and conservation were important reasons for taking up the craft."

BeeBase is the National Bee Unit website and provides a wide range of free information for UK beekeepers.

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