Marlow has become England’s first ‘bee town’ following work by campaigners to help the “vital” insects.

Wild Marlow has been working on the campaign to become a ‘bee town’ for more than two years.

The group is also holding its first bee festival in Higginson Park to celebrate the “crucial” insect and other pollinators on June 4.

The Marlow Town Council has now actioned a new pollinator policy for the town.

TV nature presenter Steve Backshall, a long-term local resident, said: “To everyone at Wild Marlow, what you’re doing to make Marlow the first bee town in England, that is absolutely right up my street!

“The idea that we’re becoming more friendly to pollinators and our native bugs is music to my ears.

“I’m very, very sorry I can’t be with you this time, as I’m going to be away filming otherwise I’d be there with bells on!

“I just want to say have an amazing festival and all the best from me!”

The event is designed to celebrate bees and other pollinators and to showcase Wild Marlow’s work on the Bee Town campaign.

Stallholders include the High Wycombe Beekeepers Association, The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Chiltern Bees, The Kiln Café with bee-themed pottery, Creature Candy, and the RSPB and many more.

The bee Festival is hoped to be a regular event, with a full list of exhibitors and activities set to be announced in the coming weeks.

The policy backed by the town council will see a new pollinator-friendly revised grass cutting regimes, pollinator-friendly wildflower plantings in green spaces and road verges around the town.

It also includes a ban on the use of toxic weed killers, in particular glyphosate, and a commitment to promote awareness among residents and visitors of the importance of supporting bees and other pollinators.

Jocelyn Towns, deputy mayor and chairman of the council’s environment, sustainability and wellbeing committee, said: “Feedback from residents, particularly regarding the beautiful wildflower areas around the town, has been very positive, and we’re delighted to commit our support to this campaign.”

Verity West of Wild Marlow said: “We’re delighted to announce that Marlow is England’s first bee town.

“We’ve been working really hard to ensure that these vital creatures are supported and celebrated here in Marlow, and we’re hoping that everyone appreciates them in public spaces and in their gardens.

“We’re continuing our campaign, developing many more initiatives to underpin our credentials as a Bee Town.

“This is a long-term plan which is good for our town and good for our environment.

“Bees are crucial to the survival of the planet.

“By supporting them, we can make a real difference to the environment, now and in the future.”

Wild Marlow has introduced a ‘bee town’ logo to highlight its activities as well as signs at the town’s wildflower areas, offering more information on the importance of bees and pollinators.

Events including bumblebee walks, beekeeping demonstrations, and talks have been ongoing since 2020.

The group also regularly provides volunteers and advice to residents, local schools, businesses and landowners for their pollinator-friendly activities.