Parliament considers new wildflower corridors to save bees
Our beleaguered wild pollinators move a step closer to recovery today as a new ‘Protection of Pollinators Bill’ is presented to the House of Commons. Ben Bradley MP will introduce a new Bill aimed at delivering a national network of pollinator corridors containing fields of wildflower-rich habitats. The new laws would place a duty on the Department of the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) to approve an English B-Line map plan and would encourage public authorities to help with its fulfilment.
For several years the wildlife charity Buglife and over 150 partners have been developing a national B-Lines map that sets the template for a network of wildflower-rich habitats to reconnect the best of our remaining wildflower-rich areas in both the countryside and urban areas – 97% of wildflower grassland has been destroyed since the 1940s. The B-Lines programme has been growing and gaining more and more support, so it is hoped that Parliament will provide the commitment and new resources to speed up the restoration and creation of tens of thousands of hectares of wildflower-rich habitats.
“This new Pollinator Bill represents a real opportunity to make our countryside and urban environments pollinator friendly” say Paul Evans, B-Lines Programme Manager at Buglife, “By focussing effort on restoring and creating wildflower-rich grasslands in a defined network we target resources more effectively at the key habitats in the key places. If we get land owners, farmers, businesses, local authorities, schools and the general public to help then the wildflower networks can become a reality”.
This news follows soon after the EU Member States endorsed an EC proposal to completely ban the outdoor agricultural uses of the three neonicotinoids insecticides. Neonicotinoid insecticides were introduced in the late 1990s and became the world’s most commonly used insecticides, but have had massively detrimental impacts wild pollinators and honeybees. The EU ban, crucially supported by the UK Government, represents a huge step forward for efforts to halt pollinator declines, but should also clear the political channels so that more practical action to save pollinators can be achieved.
“If the ban on neonicotinoids can be quickly followed by the development of a network of wildflower-rich areas, then our pollinators really do have a chance to recover, which would be great news for wildlife and food production” added Paul Evans.