New scheme to keep bees buzzing in Scottish countryside

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The decline in bee populations and their vital role as pollinators is causing concern across the UK, but LPG supplier AvantiGas is sponsoring a project in Perth and Kinross to help counter the trend.

The off-grid fuel company, which provides Liquefied Petroleum Gas to homes and businesses nationwide, has donated £3,000 to an initiative set up by the Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust (PKCT) to help support local bees by training six new beekeepers through their Tay Landscape Partnership (TayLP) Project.

Training will be provided in March and April this year by the Perth and District Beekeepers’ Association, teaching the new beekeepers the skills they need to start their own hives. The trainees will busy themselves learning about bee behaviour, how to approach a colony, how to avert swarming and how to collect the honey.

Morag Watson, PKCT Trust Manager said: “There has been a decline in the number of beekeepers in recent years, so this generous donation from AvantiGas to train six new beekeepers in the Carse of Gowrie will make a big difference to the bee population in the area. Bees are vital to the pollination of many food crops; in fact one third of the food we eat would not be available without them, so this will really help keep food crops flourishing.”

The location for the project is a stretch of low-lying countryside between Perth and Dundee which is an important area for growing strawberries and raspberries.

Thanks to the sponsorship, the new beekeepers will not only get free training but will also be given a TayLP beekeeping starter kit which includes everything they need to make a success of their new venture – including the bees.

AvantiGas Marketing Executive Abi Martin, who has worked closely with the countryside trust on the project, said: “We take our green credentials very seriously at AvantiGas so we are delighted to support such a worthwhile scheme. Many of our off-grid customers live in rural locations, and we all depend on bees to pollinate the crops we consume, so this is a scheme that can benefit everyone.

“The bees project also gives us an opportunity to give back to the community where our Mossmorran terminal is an important local employer, providing the LPG that we distribute throughout the UK. We will be following the beekeepers’ progress with great interest – and we’re looking forward to sampling some of the honey!”