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  • FSRA


Updated: Aug 15, 2021

George Street Canteen's busy hive of bees has unexpectedly doubled production of honey since the Covid-19 pedestrianisation of George Street and High Street was put in place.

In what is seen as a heart-warming turn of events, the bees have given residents and shopkeepers a strong message about the local environment.

Prior to the pandemic, pollution in the area was reported to be above World Health Organization limits and this latest news gives the community a positive prognosis for air quality in the local area.

The hive's beekeeper, Steve Foulds from Queen of Herts Honey, explains that the reason for this massive increase in honey production is simply that the bees are responding to reduced levels of air pollution.

"Neuroscientists at the University of Southampton have discovered that reactive pollutants in vehicle exhaust fumes destroy key chemicals in the odour of flowers, making them smell different to the bees," says Steve.

"The revelation that traffic fumes are creating problems is significant, rendering the scent of flowers barely recognisable to honeybees and having a serious impact on their ability to find food and produce honey.

"This research demonstrates a clear connection between exhaust pollution and its detrimental effects on bees' reliance on flower odour to produce honey."

Fishpool Street resident Rich Wilson commented:

"The bees mean business. It's a clear signal that the pedestrianisation of George Street and the High Street should remain if we want to retain the environmental benefits.

"It's such a pleasure meandering along George Street now when compared with the pre-pandemic experience of being squeezed up against the shopfronts by the traffic and breathing in the noxious fumes.

"The reduction in traffic through the conservation area has been very significant, and we've seen many more people out enjoying our historic and beautiful Cathedral quarter for exercise and sight-seeing, or just a leisurely stroll with family and friends."

Give your view to the county council through the public consultation survey on pedestrianisation here.

Follow the progress of the hive on George Street Canteen's Instagram account here.


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