BBKA's Charitable Objectives primarily require it to to promote and further the craft of beekeeping and to advance the education of the public in the importance of bees in the environment. It also campaigns vigorously and effectively when the need arises.
In 2005 following proposals to reduce the inspection service and de-regulate EFB in order to help cut the Defra budget, a public campaign was launched with backing from MPs, resulting in a petition of some 36,000 signatures being gathered. This was presented to the then Minister, Lord Bach and the cuts prevented.
Greater things were to come when in 2007, having noted the dramatic and unexplained colony losses being recorded in the USA, the BBKA initiated a highly successful colloquium entitled “Honey Bee Health Research – Where to Next and How?” A research ‘wish list’ was developed with researchers and presented to the then Minister, Lord Rooker. His refusal to find more money for bee health research provided the stimulus for the campaign involving MPs & Lords, the media and general public.
The public petition of 136,000 signatures was presented to Downing Street on 5 November 2008 during the highly visible ‘Smokers in Whitehall’ event. The Government changed its stance and Hilary Benn the Environment Minister announced in January 2009 that £2.3M would be pumped into the NBU to expand their activities and £2.5M put up to start the Insect Pollinators Initiative. This fund was later swollen to £10M with contributions from Scottish Government, BBSRC, NERC and The Wellcome Trust.
Whilst the campaign was a success it is considered as ‘work in progress’ in that the BBKA still seeks funding for the many applied research projects set-out in its 2009 document ‘Honey Bee Health Research Concepts’ which can be viewed on this web-site. As recently as May 2011 representatives of the BBKA met with Lord Henley the Minister currently with responsibility for Bees, to press for further investment in bee health research.