Today Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield is launching a campaign to save Britain’s pollinators in connection with Buglife, the charity devoted to the conservation of insects and other invertebrates.
Ben’s Protection of Pollinators Bill which has been printed in the House of Commons, asks the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to help bees and other insects by protecting their habitat and supporting the creation of “pollinator corridors”.
The Bill is based on previous ground-breaking work by Buglife which has pioneered an innovative scheme called B-Lines which is a series of planned “insect pathways” or pollinator corridors running through our countryside and towns. These paths are formed of wildflower-rich habitat stepping stones which link existing wildlife areas together, creating a network that weaves across our landscape allowing bees and other pollinators to roam freely across large areas.
While the Government has undertaken some important steps to help insects, including the creation of the National Pollinator Strategy, support has focused on temporary habitats, and patches of protected countryside. Although these provide benefits, pollinators are not free to fly far and wide as they naturally would- instead they are currently confined to small pockets. Ben's Bill calls for the creation of B-Lines as a solution to this problem.
The Bill is designed to help support pollinators including bees, butterflies, wasps and moths. More than two thirds of Britain’s pollinators are in decline and 35 of the UK’s bee species are currently under threat of extinction. The loss of wildflower-rich habitat is one of the main threats to their survival.
Ben’s Bill puts a duty on Defra to bring forward a map outlining a continuous national network of pollinator corridors (B-Lines) containing spaces rich in wildflower habitat. It also asks public authorities in England to help to improve the connectivity of wildflower-rich habitats within the B-Lines Map.
Second reading of the Protection of Pollinators Bill is scheduled to take place on Friday 26th October 2018.
Commenting, Ben Bradley MP said:
“I am delighted to bring forward a Private Members’ Bill to help protect our bees and other pollinators. Bees and other insects are crucial for Britain’s bio-diversity and for food sustainability. Many people don’t realise how important bees are for our economy too. Pollinators are vital for businesses that rely on insect-pollinated crops including cider producers and food manufacturers, with studies suggesting that pollinators are worth nearly £700 million to UK food production annually.
We are lucky to have some of the most beautiful countryside and parks in the world but I want to ensure that we join up these areas to allow insects to roam freely and to help further protect our green spaces. Together with Buglife I want to take the opportunity to create a buzz about the importance of bees and other pollinators. I hope that the British public will back our campaign to implement B-Lines across the country.”
Commenting, Matt Shardlow Chief Executive of Buglife said:
“Bees are amazing animals, but they are in real difficulties, being stranded on fragments of flower-rich habitats and under pressure from rising temperatures. This is Parliament’s opportunity to reverse the terrible decline in pollinators and secure the ecology and productivity of our countryside. With a national B-Lines map we can link-up our bees by restoring meadows and thus enable our pollinators and other wildlife to move through the countryside again.”