Bee Bill

Protection of Pollinators Bill

Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield has launched a campaign to save Britain’s pollinators in connection with Buglife, the charity devoted to the conservation of insects and other invertebrates.
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 Protection of Pollinators Bill, 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 Buglife’s B-Lines scheme 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. The benefits of such a scheme will also be felt by a range of other species, such as birds and bats.

The Government’s National Pollinator Strategy focuses on temporary habitats, and patches of protected countryside. Although these provide benefits, pollinators movement is constrained by barriers. Ben’s Bill calls for the creation of B-Lines as a solution.

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.

Funding for Pollinator Habitat Mapping

In addition to the Pollinator’s Bill, Environment Secretary Michael Gove launched a £60,000 fund to develop and test pollinator habitat mapping – identifying where new habitats will provide the greatest benefit for bees and other pollinators.

This will help to boost the number of pollinator-friendly landscapes and protect the health of our bees, wasps, beetles, butterflies, moths and hoverflies, as set out in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.
These species are critical to our countryside and the food industry through the work they do to pollinate plants and crops.
The project will involve partnering with organisations such as Natural England, Buglife, The Wildlife Trusts and other bodies working on habitat mapping and the conservation of pollinators.
What does this mean to our clients?

We will be looking at how our work with developers can contribute to Bug Life’s B-Lines. Where development is within a B-Line area, we will investigate opportunities for our clients to contribute to the strategy.
Should the bill be passed, these corridors may also end up with local policy designations.

The B-line map can be seen here.

We already encourage our clients to include wildlife habitats within schemes to maintain stepping stones and it will be interesting to start to compare our sites with the location of B-Lines to see if there is more that we can do to contribute.