In Parliament last week I spoke in a debate the need to safeguard bees and other pollinators. Both as local MP and as Government Minister for the Environment and Rural Affairs, I’ve been working to uphold biodiversity, protect wildlife and preserve our natural environment. The threat to bees needs to be taken very seriously, which is why the Coalition Government is taking forward a National Pollinator Strategy to tackle the decline in the number, diversity and geographical ranges of individual species.
Bees play an essential role in the pollination and food production process, making them a vital part of the wider ecosystem. We rely on bees to pollinate around a third of the food we eat, but unfortunately a worrying number of wild bee species are becoming rare or even extinct in some parts of the UK. During the debate I spoke about our work to develop a proper understanding of issues including diseases, pesticides and the loss of habitats which we need to look at in order to safeguard pollinator populations for the future. We also want to boost awareness and inspire action amongst individuals and interested organisations about the threats faced by bees and other pollinators.
I also welcomed Caron and Des Archer from Padstow Brewing Company to Westminster last Thursday. I had arranged for their Padstow Pale Ale to be served in Parliament’s Strangers Bar and it was great to hear how the business has been going from strength to strength since I last visited the brewery and about their plans for the future. I’d like to thank Caron, Des and the team at Padstow Brewing Company for all their hard work and for their contribution to the brewing sector and to the local economy in North Cornwall.
On Sunday I attended the unveiling of a granite poppy memorial in Camelford. The monument is a fitting tribute to mark the sacrifice of all those people in the town and the surrounding communities who gave their lives in the First World War, as well as to those who stayed behind and whose lives were changed forever by the conflict. I’d like to thank everyone in the community who supported the project and who gave their time and money. Particular thanks are due to Vaughan Williams who drove the project forward, and to stonemason Steve Kay.
I know that lots of people have been affected by the announcement on Friday that several Western Greyhound bus services in the afternoon and evenings have been cancelled. I am saddened that a local company, which has worked well in the past, isn’t delivering a good enough service for our area. I have raised this latest issue with Cornwall Council and am asking them to look into alternative ways to provide vital bus services across North Cornwall.
I am determined to explore all possible options to try and protect and improve our bus services. In July the Government announced a £48.9 million ‘Growth Deal’ investment for Cornwall. As part of the package, there will be a review of the existing Cornish bus network to identify and progress improvements. I will be working to make sure that we seize the opportunity of this funding to protect, improve and expand the bus network in North Cornwall.