Bees and other pollinators play an essential role in our food production and are vital to the diversity of our environment. I welcome the work the Government has done over the last few years to understand and protect them. There is concern, however, over gaps in our understanding of these issues, so Ministers launched a comprehensive review of current policy as the basis for the National Pollinator Strategy.
The Strategy lays out plans to improve our understanding of the abundance, diversity and role of pollinators over the next three to five years, and identify any additional actions needed to protect them. It also describes actions that can be implemented now, building on initiatives already under way.
These include significant advances over the draft Strategy, such as measures to raise the profile of existing initiatives to conserve and create good quality wild flower meadows, and minimising risks from pesticides. Organisations such as Network Rail, Highways Agency and the National Trust have agreed that railway embankments, motorway embankments and forests will be used to create bee and insect friendly habitats.
It also includes the first ever wild pollinator and farm wildlife package, which will see more funding made available to farmers and landowners that take steps to protect pollinators through the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme.