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Don’t undermine the laws that protect nature, say nearly half a million European citizens.

BBCT are members of the Wildlife and Countryside Link, Scottish Environment Link and Wales Environment Link. This press release was issued by the RSPB on behalf of Link member organisations. 

Calls to defend nature beat the record for responses to European public consultations.

Don’t undermine or wreck the laws protecting nature. That’s the clear and powerful message to the President of the European Commission and his Commissioners from the majority of nearly half a million people [note 6] across Europe (with around one in five of those coming from the UK) who have so far responded to the consultation on the future of two of Europe’s nature laws: the Birds and Habitats Directives.

As the three-month consultation draws to a close at midnight tonight [Friday 24 July, 2015], conservation and wildlife groups across Europe are delighted with the level of public support which has exceeded all previous consultations on any other European law. In Europe, four environmental networks, comprising WWF Europe, BirdLife International, the European Environmental Bureau and Friends of the Earth Europe, came together in May launching the Nature Alert campaign [note 2] in response to the EU Commission’s suggestion to evaluate whether the existing EU nature laws should be changed.

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Congratulations to Dr Peter Graystock, runner-up in this year’s NERC Award!

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust would like to offer its congratulations to Dr Peter Graystock, who has been named runner-up in this year’s Early Career Impact NERC (the Natural Environment Research Council) Award.

Peter has been recognised by NERC for his scientific research looking at the conservation implications of importing commercial bumblebee colonies. His work, conducted at the University of Leeds in partnership with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, found that bumblebees imported for commercial use in the UK were infested with a range of parasites upon their arrival. These findings indicate that our native wild bumblebees could be at risk of infection from commercial bumblebees, something which Natural England have taken on board and has prompted them to tighten the licensing regime for those wishing to purchase commercial bumblebees. They have also heavily restricted imports of non-native commercial bumblebees, which is great news for our wild native species.

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Parasites fail to halt European bumblebee invasion of the UK

A species of bee from Europe has been found to have stronger resistance to parasite infections than native bumblebees - allowing it to spread across the UK.

Tree bumblebees, which arrived in the UK from continental Europe 13 years ago,  have spread rapidly despite carrying high levels of an infection that normally prevents queen bees from producing colonies according to research by scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The study, Parasites and genetic diversity in an invasive bumblebee, was published today in the Journal of Animal Ecology. It found Tree bumblebees (Bombus hypnorum) have spread at an average rate of nearly 4,500 square miles – about half the size of Wales – every year.

Researchers collected Tree bumblebee queens from the wild, checked them for parasites and then monitored colony development in a laboratory. Despite the bees having low genetic diversity and high levels of a nematode parasite that usually castrates other species, 25 per cent of the queens were able to produce offspring. 

Scientists believe the spread of tree bumblebees could have both positive and negative impacts on native bees.

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Short-haired bumblebee nests in the UK for the first time in 25 years

The Short-haired bumblebee reintroduction project has been boosted by the discovery of several worker bees, following the introduction of 50 queens of that species earlier this year.

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Birds helping bees

Chippindale Foods Limited (CFL) and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) are partnering to help halt the decline of Britain’s bumblebees.   The partnership will develop bee-friendly habitats on Chippindale’s farms throughout Yorkshire and the north east of England.

Chippendale Foods Limited

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