Agenda item

Allotment Bee Keeping Policy


That the Allotment Bee Keeping Policy be recommended for adoption.


The Assistant Director (Operations) introduced the report and noted that the Allotment Beekeeping Policy assisted the Council in meeting its biodiversity and Climate Change objectives.

The Cemeteries & Allotments Manager advised that the policy had been written following research with the British Beekeepers Association and Kent beekeepers. The Committee was advised that bee numbers were declining and the Council had a duty as a landowner and allotment site provider to have guidelines in place to enable tenants to keep bees. Health and Safety was considered to be very important as was the siting of the hives. For example, hives would not be sited near schools and would be screened to ensure that the bees would have an upwards trajectory when leaving the colony. In addition, hive owners would have to display signs to warn of the presence of bees and any concerns would be reported to the Cemeteries & Allotments Manager. All allotments would be visited from time to time to ensure adherence to the policy.

The Chair congratulated the officer on a comprehensive and easy to understand report.

The following points were raised during discussion on this item:

·                     A question was raised on whether a beekeeper would have to leave the allotment if a potential new tenant objected to the presence of the hives.  The Committee was advised that the applicants for allotments could chose up to 4 sites and officers would either offer an allotment as far away from the hives as possible or would offer another site.  The Cemeteries & Allotments Manager stated that she would not be disposed to move the hives in this situation.

·                     The Committee was advised that the proposed policy ran side by side with the Kent County Council Plan Bee Policy. The Borough Council’s policy had been communicated to all allotment tenants who had all been very supportive. The Assistant Director (Operations) confirmed that the Council was not only working with the County Council but also with the Kent Wildlife Trust and other organisations.

·                     A suggestion was made that this initiative be bought to the attention of youth groups sometime in the future.

·                     A concern was raised regarding the County Council’s policy to stop cutting the grass verges which simple meant the County had stopped managing the verges. Officers were asked to lobby the County Council to sow the verges with bee friendly plants such as lavender, buddleia for example. The Assistant Director (Operations) advised that it was on his agenda to speak with the County Council but there was also Borough-Council owned land where more could be done. It would also help if these initiatives were signposted for residents to enable them to understand the approach being taken with any given site.

·                     A question was raised on the allotment beekeepers not being permitted to display honey for sale signs. The Cemeteries & Allotments Manager confirmed that allotment tenants were not permitted to sell honey or any other produce. This was in line with advice from the Beekeepers Association. It was noted that the beekeepers could give their honey to friends and family or use it to make soaps, both soaks etc. It was noted that the majority of tenants were happy to have the bees on site because they pollinated the plants.

·                    Following a comment from the Assistant Director (Operations), the Chair agreed that cemeteries should be used constructively but the public must be made aware because of the sensitivity issues.


Resolved that the Allotment Bee Keeping Policy be recommended for adoption.

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