Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs what measures (i) are being taken; and (ii) will be taken by his Department to arrest the decline in the bee population.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: The Department provides guidance to landowners on the maintenance of habitats to support the bee and wider pollinator population. Official controls are implemented by the Department which includes monitoring honeybee apiaries and bee imports to detect the presence of harmful pests. An on-line database (Databees) has been introduced by the Department in 2018 to encourage voluntary registration of bee keepers to improve effectiveness of bee health and controls. The College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) facilitates preliminary courses for new entrants to beekeeping.
The Department is currently contributing to the on-going work of a coalition of interest groups aimed at the development of a Pollinator plan covering the years 2021 to 2025. This will inform future policy considerations of this Department regarding its role in supporting a healthy bee population.