I'm happy to announce that my Protection of Pollinators Bill has finally been printed in the House of Commons and is due to have a second reading on Friday 26th October.
I'm working with a charity called Buglife, which is devoted to the conservation of insects and other invertebrates, to ask 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 on previous ground-breaking work by Buglife which has pioneered an innovative scheme called B-Lines - 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.
While the Government has undertaken some important steps to help insects, including the creation of the National Pollinator Strategy, support has focused on temporary habitats, and patches of protected countryside. Although these provide benefits, pollinators are not free to fly far and wide as they naturally would- instead they are currently confined to small pockets.
The Bill calls for the creation of B-Lines as a solution to this problem and 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.
The 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.
I am delighted to bring forward a Bill to help protect our bees and other pollinators. We are lucky to have some of the most beautiful countryside parks in the world but I want to ensure that we join up these areas to allow insects to roam freely and to help further protect our green spaces. Together with Buglife I want to take the opportunity to create a buzz about the importance of bees and other pollinators. I hope that the British public will back our campaign to implement B-Lines across the country.
You can find the full text of the Bill on the Parliament website here, or read about Buglife's brilliant work here.