Sainsbury’s said today (March 16) it will be the first supermarket chain to have eight hives, made from sustainably sourced timber and recycled materials, on land around a new eco store in Dursley, Gloucestershire.

The area is one of the UK’s main fruit and vegetable growing areas and farmers depend upon effective pollination to create a harvestable crop.

The store hopes by providing the bees and the hives it will help reverse recent declines in bee numbers.

Sainsbury’s environment manager, Jack Cunningham, said: “The rapid decline in bee population has had a severe impact upon the productivity of British crops, so we have decided to take practical steps to help.

“Sainsbury’s already has a loyalty scheme where customers can collect Nectar points, so enabling bees to collect the real thing makes perfect sense.”

Landscaping surrounding the store has also been ‘carefully crafted’ to supply a rich and varied diet of pollen and nectar for these industrious little workers, as a lack of forage is considered to be one of the main drivers of bee decline.

And bee hives are just one of the ecological initiatives included at the new store, the building has been designed to collect rain water for use in toilets and to irrigate plants.

Special reflective pipes in the roof of the building make the best use of natural daylight, while cold air from food chillers is recycled to keep the store cool in summer.

Luke Walsh

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