Give bees a chance

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Times are tough for many Islington residents. The 1st Apil, dubbed “black April”, saw many changes to the NHS and welfare system that have been causing alarm and concern. Many members of our community, already struggling, will face further hardships from the government’s bedroom tax and cuts to Council tax benefit.

Islington has shocking levels of health inequalities, deprivation and child poverty. Many families are forced to live in cramped, overcrowded homes.

Given this backdrop, you might wonder why we should care about today’s news stories about the declining UK bee population. What to bees have to do with inner-city London? How is this relevant to our urban community?

This Islington Fairness Commission noted that “despite having the least green space of any London Borough, Islington does have high quality green spaces available to the community, including 227 parks, gardens and open spaces…The Commission notes the importance of community assets such as public spaces in bringing people together. The smallest of spaces, used effectively, can really enliven densely built-up places.”

St Peter’s Ward Labour party recently invited members of Islington Friends of the Earth to speak at a ward meeting about their Bee Cause campaign. Our local Labour party support’s the Friends of the Earth campaign and efforts to restore habitat, reduce pesticide use and protect all species of bees.

Our green spaces are extremely important to our physical and mental health. From Community gardens and gardening clubs to new street markets, Islington Labour is committed to making progressive use of public space. Even in inner-city London, we can do our bit to make our private and shared spaces more welcoming to our native bee population, like the fantastic “bee hotels” in Duncan Terrace Gardens or the urban meadow in Dibden Street Park.

Further information about the Islington Fairness Commission and all its recommendations is available at http://www.islington.gov.uk/about/fairness-commission/Pages/default.aspx

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