Calls to transform Highgate reservoir into wildflower meadow to help Britain’s bee crisis

Seeds have been sown for a plan to help tackle Britain’s bee crisis by transforming an unloved patch of grass into a wildflower meadow.

Thames Water has been urged to allow volunteers into grass-covered Highgate Reservoir to create a haven for the under-threat insects by filling it with bee-friendly plants.

Both the Highgate Society and the Camden branch of the Friends of the Earth charity are backing the plan, which they say would brighten up the space and provide a much-needed boost to the bees, which are fast declining in number.

Highgate Society chairman Kirsten de Keyser said: “If we lose the bees, we lose practically everything. Nobody is going to pollinate.

“Not only would this look wonderful, but it would also achieve some genuine good by providing an environment for bees.


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“It would look like the Olympic Park, all the wildflowers are what made the park look so fantastic.”

Bees pollinate many of our staple foods – and if the decline continues we may have to resort to hand pollination.

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This already takes place in parts of China and the cost to the UK has been estimated at £1.8billion per year by Friends of the Earth.

Camden Friends of the Earth co-ordinator Susan Poupard, 30, said: “People are not really aware of the extent of the problem – two varieties of bees have already become extinct in the UK. It’s scary the impact it could have on our food.”

The land, sandwiched between The Grove and Highgate West Hill, is owned by Thames Water and fenced off for security reasons. The grass hides a service reservoir containing treated drinking water for surrounding homes.

Jenny Bullis, 37, of Hampstead Lane, who works in advertising and came up with the proposal, said: “It’s empty space at the moment, it’s just grass. I think it would save Thames Water money as well – they’re paying someone to regularly cut the grass.”

Thames Water confirmed it will consider the idea. A spokesman said: “We are continually looking at ways to make our sites more environmentally friendly and we look forward to receiving suggestions for Highgate Reservoir.”

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