Understanding environmental impact is crucial to sustainability and community quality of life.

BEEing Friendly at Llantarnam Abbey

Volunteers sewing wild flower seed in a fieldTorfaen Friends of the Earth joined forces with Torfaen Biodiversity Partnership, Torfaen County Borough Council, Ancient Cwmbrân Society, Gwent Wildlife Trust, The Floodplain Meadows Partnership and Natural Resources Wales to seed a new flower meadow in the grounds of the beautiful Llantarnam Abbey with the kind permission of the Sisters of St Joseph of Annecy. Further plans are being discussed to raise awareness and bring back to life some of the late medieval water management systems too in order to improve the environment.

This is a practical way of helping the plight of bees and other pollinators, providing them with stepping stone habitats and connecting corridors of wildflowers to forage across the landscape. Bees are suffering and dying at an alarming rate and desperately need our help.

We all rely on bees to pollinate the crops, which feed us. If carried out artificially it would cost the UK government £ 1.8 billion per annum. Just imagine the increased cost of food production, pushing up the cost of our basic foods such as bread, cereal and fruit. Bees do it for free!

The Welsh Government has shown the way in their commitment to support measures to save the bees through the new Pollinators Action Plan for Wales. Friends of the Earth have a national campaign to urge the UK government to do the same by asking for a UK bee survival strategy. Bees know no boundaries so the rest of the UK needs to catch up.

Last summer many Torfaen residents signed our postcards to David Cameron to urge him to take action. We are continuing the campaign this summer at local shows and fairs, dressed in our bee costumes – you won't miss us!

For help on what you can do to help, take a look at the Friends of the Earth website, or talk to us at the local events. Let's make bee friendly places in our verges, gardens, parks and school playing fields.

From left to right: Sister Anna Larkins , Kirsty Rogers (Gwent Wildlife Trust), Carole Jacob (Torfaen FOE) with Bronwyn the cocker spaniel, and Dave Standing.