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02/04/14 09:08

Funding for bees

Weather aid funding paid out to beekeepers.

Vital payments have been made to Scotland’s beekeepers hit by last year’s bad weather, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced.

Scottish Government funding of £200,000 has been paid out to ten beekeepers across the country, including a local association training apiary.

The money was made available to help bee farmers restructure their businesses after the prolonged winter weather in 2013, which resulted in an estimated 4,000 colonies being lost.

Mr Lochhead said:

“Scotland was hit with some of the worst snow in living memory during last year, with some farmers seeing their entire colonies virtually wiped out

“Bees not only produce honey and other products, but also act as pollinators for many crops and wild plants; this is why I felt it imperative to help bee farmers.

“This £200,000 aid package was vital in this process and proved to be an incredibly popular scheme, and I’m delighted that we have been able to provide support for beekeepers to restructure their businesses and rebuild their colonies.”

John Mellis, Scottish board member of the Bee Farmers’ Association of the UK said:

“The Bee Farmers who have benefited from this generous assistance are extremely grateful for the support which the Scottish Government has provided. Without it some of our colleagues would most probably not have been able to stay in business and for the rest, the knowledge that assistance would be forthcoming meant it was possible to actively start rebuilding.

“Good progress has been made in restoring colony levels and the £200,000 in support has helped us to restructure and rebuild the businesses to ensure we have strong foundations moving forward.”

Notes to editors

All applications have been assessed against an approved set of criteria agreed by an Expert Working Panel.

The payments should be in bank accounts within seven to 10 days. All successful applicants will be sent a letter telling them the amount they are being paid prior to payment.

More on bee health in Scotland

Honey Bee Health Strategy for Scotland

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