So far there has not been any consultation about whether residents and those affected want to have bees on the roof of one of the blocks, which are to be maintained by Hackeny City Farm.
Snowdrop bulbs were planted on the estate to provide food / nectar for the bees during the colder winter month and early spring.
My concerns are around the behaviour of the bees in such a close environment to do with pedestrians using the foot pathes. A lot of snowdrop bulbs were planted along the footpath in front of Rosebery House. The path is very busy with small children, parents and residents who either walk past the block or live in it. Also the lawns around Rosebery House have been adapted with bee-friendly plants.
Also we do have a large school in the middle of the estate and the school must be agreeing to having bees nearby whilst children are playing in the playgrounds or having windows open in the summer.
My family kept bees for centuries in the country-side and honey is one of my favourite sweeteners and I am all in favour of bees as very important and instrumental for our food production. But there is a question whether a busy housing estate with a school is the right place to keep a beehive.
I do understand there are bees in the city. But I think there are no housing estates, they are on a law building in Russell Square and the Museum of London, which are different environments.
I think more research needs to be done and questions asked why our estate was chosen for the scheme.
There is now a lot of emphasis on planting fruit trees and fruit bushes and bee-friendly plants. I understand that in other countries fruit trees are planted all around a town. In Copenhagen fruit trees are grown in cities as a project to support the whole city. There the project is paid for by the Council and the maintenance is the local governments responsibility. Yet this scheme here seems to be only happening on Parkview estate in London and it brings its own problems.
Fruit trees shed fruit and that can cause a problem with removing the rotting fruit, there needs to be planned maintenance. Rotting fruit causes a lot of methane, which is very dangerous for the environment unless the rotting fruit gets recycled, which is again a lot of maintenance in a city environment. Many farmers can’t even recycle their unsold rotting produce. We do have a large fruit tree in Bishops way, the fruits are bright red and nobody ever eats them, they rot away on the pavement and lawn each year.
We do not even have food recycling in the area. And who is going to recycle all the falling fruit?
I think in general the Council only plans to plant normal trees in Tower Hamlets. We should not become an enlargement of Hackney City Farm, because this is what’s happening right now.
I have written to Tower Hamlets Homes and to Councillor Sirajul Islam and have asked for the reasoning behind it and wonder what other residents think about it.
This will be a budget decision also as the money for the fruit trees and bushes and bulbs is paid for by the Residents Association budget and not by Tower Hamlets Homes or Tower Hamlets Council. So the long-term maintenance will fall on us.