Northern Ireland news

Beehives create buzz around dormant Stormont

The new beehives at Stormont

IT'S been quiet up on the hill for the past couple of years but there's a fresh buzz in the air around Stormont this spring with the arrival of some new residents.

In what the assembly authorities say is part of an effort to an promote environmental sustainability, they have acquired four beehives, complete with thousands of honey bees.

Bees play a crucial role in biodiversity and food production by pollinating flowers but their numbers have declined significantly in recent years due to habitat destruction and the widespread use of pesticides.

So while the lack of devolution means Stormont's 90 MLAs are unable to bring forward any legislation that can help arrest the drop in Ireland's bee population, administrative staff at the assembly have taken the initiative and established the beehives in a quiet glade near Parliament Buildings.

The project is being run conjunction with Infinity Farm, an urban agriculture and art project which aims to raise awareness of the decline of pollinator, and the Belfast Soroptimist Club.

An assembly spokeswoman told The Irish News the beehives are part of the assembly's continuing efforts to encourage environmental sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.

"The assembly has been proactive in introducing a number of environmentally friendly policies over the past number of years and introducing honey bees is only the latest effort," she said.

"Not only will the bees produce local honey, they also perform a vital role in pollination."

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