By Dr Catherine M. Jones, Pollinator Officer, Buglife
Buglife’s B-Lines map provides a recovery network for bees and other pollinators along which partners can target the creation and restoration of wildflower-rich habitat to provide room for
pollinators to thrive.
The national network of B-Lines corridors has been mapped with the help of hundreds of national partners and experts. The map identifies opportunities to connect the best remaining wildflowerrich habitats with stepping stones of new and restored habitat. This shared endeavour will enable our partners, other organisations, land owners and individuals to target their pollinator habitat creation work across the country and contribute to the national effort.
B-Lines is a big solution to a big problem – the loss of wild pollinators. In living memory, the sights and sounds of pollinators have disappeared as wildflower-rich habitats have been lost. We must
repair the connections in our damaged landscapes and restore a vibrant land where insects are abundant, where they can fulfil their important ecological roles and where they continue to delight
and inspire future generations. B-Lines will reconnect our existing wildflower-rich sites by encouraging the creation and restoration of habitat stepping stones and helping our pollinators to
move across the countryside.
With the support of hundreds of partners and funding from Defra, Buglife completed the mapping of B-Lines across England in March 2020. By the end of 2021, there will be a B-Lines map covering the whole of the UK – a huge step forward for reversing pollinator declines. However, mapping B-Lines is just the first step and it is now essential that action is taken to create thousands of hectares of new habitat for pollinators.
Hundreds of wildflower-rich habitat stepping stones have now been delivered within B-Lines across the country with more sites constantly being delivered by both Buglife and our partners. This
includes restoring existing sites through scrub clearance and improved management or through enhancing green deserts through wildflower seeding, plug planting, creating valuable nesting
habitat, pollinator-friendly garden plants, bulb planting and creative approaches such as living roofs.
West of England B-Lines has seen a successfully partnership with Avon Wildlife Trust to restore degraded wildflower-rich habitat and improve land management across hundreds of hectares of the Avon area. Initially led by Buglife, Avon Wildlife Trust are continuing with this work connecting the Cotswolds to the Mendips, the cities to the countryside, and the hills to the coast with Buglife
offering advice where needed.
In Scotland our B-Lines follow the John Muir Pollinator Way across Central Scotland. Buglife has worked with Scottish Natural Heritage, local authorities and community groups to deliver new
wildflower habitats in urban green spaces throughout and between Falkirk, Edinburgh and East Dunbartonshire. Local authorities and community groups have been inspired to take up the baton
themselves and continue delivering new pollinator habitats.
The Get Cumbria Buzzing project is creating over 115 hectares of wildflower-rich pollinator friendly habitat at over 62 sites in North West Cumbria, including stepping stones alongside the A66 . This Cumbria Wildlife Trust led project will also work with local communities to inspire them to deliver for pollinators themselves, survey for pollinators or learn new wildlife gardening skills.
However, influencing and inspiring landowners to deliver for B-Lines themselves is essential to making sure that habitat is created and restored over such a large network. The Landscapes for Wild Pollinators and Farm Wildlife project worked with farmers and landowners across Kent and Sussex offering advice to encourage habitat delivery at the field-scale across B-Lines. It is Buglife’s hope that advisors across the country will use this B-Lines map to encourage the uptake of wildflower agrienvironment scheme options and help contribute to this coordinated national effort.
Buglife encourages everyone to create and restore wildflower-rich pollinator habitat along the B-Lines corridors and record their pollinator friendly site on the B-Lines map and to support our No
Insectinction campaign to prevent insect extinctions and build friendlier relationships with insects.