Beekeepers, environmentalists and academics will heading to the Royal Cornwall Showground this Friday for a summit to discuss the global decline in bee populations.

Recent years have seen nearly 50 per cent of European bee hives not making through the winter, a trend echoed in North America. These losses are having a serious impact on biodiversity, and if they are not stemmed soon will affect food production across the world. One third of all the crops humans consume rely on bees and smaller groups of other insects for pollination.

As the scientific community works to establish how this decline can be stopped, a Cornish MP and a Cornish business have joined forces to ensure that Cornwall’s beekeeping expertise is at the forefront of the fight back.

Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton and the Tregothnan Estate are hosting Friday’s ‘Cornwall Bee Summit’ at the Tregothnan Suite at the Royal Cornwall Showground.

The summit, featuring a panel of expert speakers including leading local beekeepers, DEFRA and Cornwall Council representatives, and academics from Exeter University and Duchy College, will be chaired by Sarah Newton with questions being opened to the floor. Other speakers include Radio 4’s Martha Kearney.

Mrs Newton, a former trainee beekeeper herself, said: ‘‘Here in Cornwall we are blessed with a passionate and incredibly knowledgeable beekeeping community, as well as some of the leading academics in the field. As the UK faces up to the need to save our bees, with the Government shortly publishing a pioneering National Pollinator Strategy, I want this Cornish expertise to be at the forefront of the fight back.

‘I am very grateful to Tregothnan, with all their bee keeping experience, for hosting the summit and very much look forward to the audience focused discussion we will be having on the day. Thus discussion will feed directly into my parliamentary work as I next week lead a debate in the House of Commons on what more can be done to support our beleaguered bee population.’’ The Tregothnan Trading MD added: ‘We have the largest introduced flora in the world, and now the team to really boost bees.There are opportunities to get involved with sponsorship of trials at Tregothnan and to share in the benefits of practical research on the ground.

"Tregothnan is working with bees and business to support bees, it is fantastic to have the support of Sarah Newton in the Government as well as the academics, landowners and businesses, both UK and overseas. Effective pollination services will bring huge benefit to targeted UK crops using experience gained in other countries.’’

Places at the event can be booked via the website at www.sarahnewton.org.uk/events/cornwall-bee-summit