The British Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced a £60,000 fund to support pollinator habitat mapping and the creation of ‘B-Lines’.
The project will be a partnership among organisations including Natural England, Buglife and the Wildlife Trusts. The aim is to identify areas where the creation of flower-rich habitat will provide the greatest benefit for pollinators.
The British Government created the new fund in response to the enormous public support for the Private Member’s Bill, the ‘Protection of Pollinators’ Bill that was introduced in the House of Commons by Ben Bradley MP.
The Bill, which has subsequently been withdrawn, was drawn up in consultation with the invertebrate charity Buglife. The Bill called for the protection of pollinator habitat and the creation of new pollinator corridors called ‘B-Lines’.
Announcing the new fund, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
“Bees and other pollinators are vital contributors to the beauty of our landscapes, our economy and our £100 billion food industry.
Today’s announcement to fund pollinator mapping shows our clear commitment to help these wonderful creatures to thrive by creating wildflower rich areas around our towns and countryside.
Ben Bradley MP has run a brilliant campaign to better protect our pollinators and to leave our environment in a better state for future generations. He deserves all our thanks.”
Ben Bradley MP, who has been campaigning for pollinator conservation and introduced the ‘Protection of Pollinators’ Bill in the House of Commons, commented:
“I am pleased that the government is taking action to support pollinators and that they have incorporated ideas from my Pollinator Bill within their plans. Providing funding for pollinator mapping and supporting the creation of wildflower rich habitat will help protect our bees and other insects including butterflies and moths.”
The announcement comes alongside further government investment in two projects to create pollinator-friendly landscapes: The Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s “West Country Buzz” project in North Devon, and The Martin Down farmer “Super Cluster” in Hampshire.
The new fund, coupled with further restrictions on neonicotinoids due to come in to force at the end of the year, is a big win in the battle to arrest the decline of pollinators and the ecosystems within which they play a crucial role.
The crop pollination services provided by wild insects has been valued at between £400 – £680 million per year due to improved productivity, hence this is also a big win for the British economy.