Government to reveal new measures for pollinator protection

Government to reveal new measures for pollinator protection

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The government's environment secretary Liz Truss will announce a new set of measures today (November 4th) designed to help protect Britain's pollinating insects from further decline.

A report to coincide with the Bee and Pollinator strategy includes a raft of recommendations for the public, businesses and farmers to put into action to address the continuing problem of population reductions.

For example, farmers are being offered financial incentives for restoring natural habitats such as hedgerows and for allowing meadows to grow with pollinator-friendly crops.

Special agreements have been made with organisations such as Network Rail and the Highways Agency to increase the number of grass verges, while members of the public are being offered advice through a website called Bees Needs.

Among other things, it suggests reducing the number of times lawns are mown in summer and encouraging the cultivation of lavender and daisies. 

Ms Truss said bees should be treated like Premier League footballers, as their work has more value to the economy than the salaries of the top ten players in the division put together.

"Like the football players, they require excellent accommodation, training and the best diet and nutrition to make them world-beating. That's why I am ensuring across all land uses there are strong incentives to provide pollinators with habitat, forage and space," she said.

Charities Buglife and Friends of the Earth welcomed the report and its plans, but insisted the strategy will fall short if the government fails to address the issue of pesticide use and regulation, with many containing Neonicotinoids known to threaten important insects.

The first Great British Bee Count held over the summer found that there were sightings of 830,000 bees between June and August by 23,000 people. Most were on allotments, with an average of 12 bees per count on such ground compared to ten in rural areas, seven on parkland and four on grass verges.

You can help to attract bees to your garden by giving them somewhere to shelter, such as our bee nesting cylinder, and by sowing seeds that have been specially mixed to appeal to the insects.