England’s B-Lines network will give pollinating insects a boost

Monday 13th July 2020

A newly completed B-Lines network for England is being launched this week by conservation charity Buglife.  B-Lines are a strategically mapped nationwide network of potential and existing wildflower habitat, designed to identify where creating new habitat will provide the greatest benefit for pollinators and help restore our declining populations of bees, butterflies, hoverflies and other pollinating insects.  These rivers of wildflowers will criss-cross the country from the South West to the North East enabling pollinators, and other wildlife, to move across the landscape.

During Bees’ Needs Week (13th to 19th July 2020), Buglife is calling on organisations and individuals everywhere to do their bit to help our precious pollinators – to get involved in planting wildflowers along the B-Lines and follow the Bees’ Needs ‘5 Simple Actions’

B-Lines is a big solution to a big problem – the declines in our wild pollinators.  In living memory, the sight and sounds of pollinators have faded across the country as wildflower-rich habitats have disappeared.  We must repair, enhance and connect our landscapes, building on work already underway and planned by communities, public bodies, businesses and farmers, ultimately restoring a vibrant land where insects are abundant, where they can pollinate our wildflowers and crops, and where they will continue to delight and inspire future generations.

The completion of the England B-Lines map was supported by Defra.  A national network of B-Line corridors has been mapped with the help of hundreds of national partners and experts.  The map identifies a network of opportunities for nature – to connect the best remaining wildflower-rich habitats. However, it is now essential that action is taken to create the thousands of hectares of new habitat identified for pollinators, on the ground.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “I am hugely grateful to Buglife for its continued commitment to action for our pollinating insects. Pollinators play a crucial role in food production and agriculture, and are also vital to our ecosystem. They are our unpaid army of friends.

“During this unprecedented time, many of us have connected with nature more than ever before, I would urge everyone who can,  to do simple things – like growing more flowers, growing them for a long a season as possible,  and cutting grass less often (I’m doing this at home and the bees are loving the clover) – to ensure our precious pollinators thrive.”

Catherine Jones, Pollinator Officer at Buglife says, “A complete England B-Lines network is a real landmark step in our mission to reverse insect declines and lend a helping hand to our struggling pollinators. We hope that organisations and people across England will help with our shared endeavour to create thousands of hectares of new pollinator-friendly wildflower habitats along the B-Lines.”

Bees’ Needs Week celebrates and shares how everyone can continue to help bees and other pollinators. We need everyone to help create urgently needed wildflower habitat along B-Lines, from local authorities and government, to farmers and keen gardeners. The details of the wildflower-rich pollinator friendly habitat that have been delivered by previous or ongoing projects, or by anyone who has already recorded their site, will appear on Buglife’s B-Lines online map.

Everyone can add their pollinator habitat on Buglife’s B-Lines online map, share on social media using #BeesNeeds and follow the Bees’ Needs ‘5 Simple Actions’:

  • Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees.
  • Let your garden grow wild.
  • Cut your grass less often.
  • Don’t disturb insect nest and hibernation spots.
  • Think carefully about whether to use pesticides

Every action for pollinators, no matter how big or small, can contribute to the B-Lines network and a secure future for England’s pollinators – and we invite everyone to record their contributions on the B-Lines online map.