New Scheme Will Pay Farmers to Protect Bees

National Pollinator Strategy Adds Incentives, But No Regulatory Changes

10.11.2014

The declining population of bees and other pollinators will be addressed by a ten-year government initiative, which may affect the way farmers manage their land.

The recently-revealed National Pollinator Strategy includes £900m of countryside stewardship schemes to incentivise wildflower planting, pollinator-friendly crops and other conservation measures.

The use of certain pesticides, such as neonicotinoids, which were recently restricted for two years by European legislation, is also mentioned in the document. However, the strategy contains no new regulations regarding pesticides, beyond recommending that they are used "responsibly and sustainably".

Some campaigners have warned that greater regulation is needed to safeguard the health of the honeybee population.

Matt Shardlow, chief executive of the conservation charity Buglife, said the strategy is "a starting point" but urged for more efforts to ensure any pesticides used are not harmful to bees.

"Recent history has shown that we are still authorising insecticides that kill bees and other wildlife: there must be more thorough testing so that licenced pesticides are indeed environmentally safe," he added.