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Bees: Conservation

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 13132, tabled on 6 June 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to help protect bumblebee habitats.

Answered on

14 June 2022

Our National Pollinator Strategy Action Plan was published in May 2022, setting out how we will improve the status of pollinators in England. This includes restoring and creating habitat for wild and managed pollinators, including bumblebees.

In England we have an extensive network of protected wildlife areas, providing benefits for many species including pollinators. In addition, our agri-environment schemes, such as the Countryside Stewardship (CS) scheme, include a range of actions to create, manage and restore habitats which are beneficial to bumblebees and other pollinators, including establishing nectar flower mixes, multi-species ley, and managing species-rich grassland. The Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package, and CS Wildlife Offers have been designed to deliver more for pollinators and other wildlife.

We are building on these measures in the design of our new Environmental Land Management schemes, which will enable many more farmers and land managers to take positive action for pollinators.

We are also working with landowners, farmers and growers alongside conservation bodies, to facilitate pollinator-friendly environments outside agri-environment schemes. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust's project to reintroduce the short-haired bumblebee in Dungeness - in partnership with Natural England, the RSPB, and over 100 farmers and landowners - has been so successful in creating extensive, quality habitat that other rare species have started to spread to areas where they have not been recorded for up to 40 years.

Defra also coordinates the annual Bees' Needs Champions Awards to recognise and celebrate exemplary initiatives undertaken by schools, local authorities, universities, community groups and bee farmers to support pollinators.