Why do we need action?
Our bees, butterflies and hoverflies have suffered badly over the last fifty or so years, due to changes in land use as a result of modern farming methods, urban spread and new transport links. Over 97% (an area the size of Wales) of all flower-rich grasslands have been lost in England since the 1930s, (and this is mirrored in other parts of Britain) reducing pollen and nectar sources and leading to a serious decline in the wildlife depending on wildflower-rich habitat.
What are B-Lines?
B-Lines are an imaginative and beautiful solution to the problem of the loss of flowers and pollinators. The B-Lines are a series of ‘insect pathways’ running through our countryside and towns, along which we are restoring and creating a series of wildflower-rich habitat stepping stones. They link existing wildlife areas together, creating a network, like a railway, that will weave across the British landscape. This will provide large areas of brand new habitat benefiting bees and butterflies– but also a host of other wildlife.
B-Lines has the vision to help our native insect pollinators
The National Pollinator Strategy for England 2014 sets out a 10 year plan to help pollinating insects survive and thrive across England. The Action Plan for Pollinators in Wales – Scottish Pollinators Stategy set out similar plans for Wales and Scotland. These strategies outline actions to support and protect the many pollinating insects which contribute to our food production and the diversity of our environment. They also look to everyone to work together to help our pollinators.
Our B-Lines are already showing the way! We are demonstrating how a joined-up approach can help conserve our native insect pollinators. We are creating a network of flower-rich pathways – The B-Lines across our countryside, towns and cities – linking together the best of our existing wildlife areas to benefit pollinators, other wildlife and people. And we need everyone on the B-Lines to help!
The Benefits of B-Lines
B-Lines bring a range of benefits to wildlife, people and agriculture, including:
- Helping conserve our native pollinators and a range of other wildlife and contributing towards Biodiversity targets
- Helping our wildlife respond to climate change by making it easier for them to move around
- Increasing the number of insect pollinators and the benefits these bring to our farming sector (pollination being an important ‘ecosystem service’)
- Bringing nature to people
- Giving opportunities for everyone to play their part and help create the B-Lines network
B-Lines aims to create and restore at least 150,000 hectares of flower-rich habitat across the UK.
Making this happen will take time and will need farmers, land owners, wildlife organisations, businesses, local authorities and the general public to work together to create flower-rich grassland in the best locations.
B-Lines have been mapped across large areas of England, Scotland and Wales. Along with conservation partners, land managers, businesses and local authorities, we are helping to fill the mapped areas with restored and new wildflower-rich areas.
Further details on some of the projects can be seen on the regional and country pages.
You can see how the B-Lines are developing on our interactive map. Please add your information so we can see how the B-lines are growing by clicking on the appropriate region and clicking submit details.
Award for B-Lines
In December 2016, B-Lines won the prestigious European Landowners Association’s Bee Award. The Award recognises the work the B-Lines programme and all its partners has been doing to encourage farmers and other land managers to make changes to their land management to provide habitats for insect pollinators.