Minister launches Plan Bee as numbers plunge

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The Government is launching an “urgent and comprehensive” review of why bees are declining and what is being done to help them.

Many species of bee and other pollinating insects including butterflies, moths and hoverflies have experienced declines in recent decades, raising concerns about the impact on food supplies, gardens and the countryside.

Use of pesticides, loss of habitat and more intensive agriculture are thought to be to blame.

The review will look at current policies, the evidence on what is happening to pollinators and what how charities and businesses are helping the insects, Environment Minister Lord de Mauley will say in a speech.

The work will identify what needs to be done and will form the basis of a “national pollinator strategy” which will bring together all the initiatives already under way and help develop new action.

Lord de Mauley will tell a Bee Summit organised by Friends of the Earth: “We must develop a better understanding of the factors that can harm these insects and the changes that government, other organisations and individuals can make to help.”

The Government has come under fire for opposing European moves to ban “neonicotinoid” pesticides which have been linked to bee declines, but Lord de Mauley said bees would be vulnerable with or without restrictions on insecticides.