One of the UK’s rarest bumblebees, the Shrill Carder Bee (Bombus sylvarum) has been found for the first time on the Swanscombe Peninsula in Kent. Having declined dramatically in the last century, it has now turned up on one of the UK’s most important threatened wildlife sites.
Jamie Robins, Buglife Programmes Manager says, “This is fantastic news. We have known for years how important Swanscombe is, with over 2,000 species of invertebrate, including a stunning 200 of conservation concern. To find the Shrill Carder Bee there now, shows that this wildlife site is going from strength to strength- as each year passes we are finding out more and more about just how essential it is that we save it.”
Plans for the London Resort theme park were withdrawn in March 2022, following a concerted campaign by a coalition of wildlife charities and community groups, but it is expected to be resubmitted later this year. To date over 35,000 people have signed a petition calling for the application to be refused.
Buglife is now asking for visitors to the popular green space to keep an eye out for more Shrill Carder Bees in September, when newly emerged queens are flying and looking for places to hibernate. Having more records for Shrill Carder Bee will help to confirm how important the Swanscombe Peninsula is to its survival in the area.
This amazing wildlife site in North Kent was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 2021, despite the ongoing planning threat. The bee was spotted by keen wildlife photographer and amateur naturalist, Richard Dowling, who was quick to point out that, “ The thought that this nationally important habitat could be bulldozed so that a handful of people can make a quick buck on a theme park is sickening”.