A healthy bee population is essential to our future food supply. Bee pollination keeps the cost of food down for all of us. If farmers had to pollinate by hand, they - and ultimately everyone - would face a total bill of £1.8 billion per year.
Bees are at risk from environmental pressures such as intensive land use, the loss of wildflower meadow habitat inch by destructive inch, and pesticides. In cooperation with Friends of the Earth and environmental campaigners within his constituency, Andrew has been working hard to give our bee population a boost.
Andrew has joined environmental campaigners to promote the Bee Cause campaign and sow a wildflower meadow at The Kidneys Nature Reserve, while paying close attention at the first Oxfordshire Bee Summit, organised by Friends of The Earth, businessmen, and environmental campaigners.
With the Government’s National Pollinator Strategy (NPS) set to be published in the Autumn, Andrew has written to the Environment Secretary with his own and many constituents’ concerns.
In particular, Andrew highlighted the vague role developers will play to protect bee habitats, asked how pesticides - which the Government recognises are a cause of bee decline - will be reduced, and how additional protection for bee habitat in the form of more wildflower meadows would happen.
“We need to look after bees, so that they keep looking after us”, Andrew said. “The Government must do more to ensure bee-friendly farming becomes the new normal as farming has a role to play in bee recovery. I will continue to monitor the NPS as it prepares to become Government policy, so that it can be the best it can possibly be.”
Andrew Smith MP has welcomed the International Development Select Committee’s new report on aid to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and called on the Secretary of State to implement its recommendations.
In the immediate term the report calls for emergency medical aid to Gaza, and longer-term aid to rebuild the public health infrastructure there which has been heavily damaged.
The report calls for the British Government to press the Government of Israel to halt settlement expansion and demolitions of Palestinian homes and property, and to ensure equitable access to water resources.
It also calls for British aid to be stepped up pending a final peace settlement, to help rebuild the economy of the Palestinian territories which has been so heavily damaged by conflict, including supporting plans to open Gaza’s port and improve transport infrastructure. This of course would entail an easing of restrictions imposed by the Government of Israel, which the report concludes are “often without real security justification”.
Finally, the report called for British aid to support organization that bring people together across ethnic and religious divides in Israel and Palestine.
Andrew said, “I strongly commend this report, which backs up the commitment and work of those in Oxford who are engaged in providing practical aid to Gaza and the West Bank, such as Oxfam who gave evidence to the Select Committee, and Sir Terence English and others who have volunteered their services to provide medical training in Palestinian hospitals. It calls for the British Government not only to provide aid but to press the Government of Israel to lift restrictions which are strangling the Palestinian economy.
“I very much hope the Government will implement all the recommendations of this report. For the Government to put its finance and influence behind these recommendations would represent a step toward the only kind of settlement that can bring peace, with an economically viable Palestinian state, and security for both Palestinians and Israelis.”
Andrew Smith MP has welcomed the International Development Select Committee’s new report on aid to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and called on the Secretary of State to implement its recommendations....
On Sunday, Andrew Smith MP attended Cowley Road Carnival, where a record crowd of over 45,000 people joined in the celebrations including a host of musical acts including marching bands, and a street procession.
The event was a tremendous success, and the carnival spirit was helped along by the sunshine and a host of musical acts including reggae bands, and an array of colourful dance routines.
"The carnival is a showcase of the diversity and talent that we are privileged to be a part of in East Oxford, and it's fantastic to see it flourishing this year with a record number of people attending. Many thanks to everyone who took part in, organised and sponsored this year's fantastic Cowley Road Carnival," said Andrew.
The Cowley Road Carnival was re-launched last year thanks to sponsorship and support, including Labour councillors' local allocations, after a rocky few years of funding uncertainties.
"It's fantastic that Cowley Road Carnival is back and is better than ever," said Andrew. "The event means a lot to residents in East Oxford and gives a huge boost to the local economy."
This morning Andrew Smith MP joined staff and volunteers to present the certificates at the ceremony for students of Oxfordshire County Council's English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programmes.
ESOL programmes are attended by new arrivals to Oxfordshire from all over the world seeking to learn how to speak, read and write in English. Many of them have overcome great difficulties in order to make a life in Oxfordshire.
Andrew said: "It was an honour to be able to attend today's ceremony and to present the certificates. Many of the students came to the UK with very limited English and it was great to learn about all their hard work to learn English as an important step in their contribution to the social, cultural and economic life of the area, as well as securing a better life for themselves and their families. There was very moving testimony from a number of students about just how much it meant to them."