Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 3rd November 2017.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the change in the number of flying insects in the last 20 years; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Defra published its annual update of the UK and England Biodiversity Indicators on 3 August. This provides detailed statistical assessments of the status and trends of a range of wildlife populations including butterflies and pollinating insects.

The indicators of butterfly abundance in the UK show significant declines since 1976: by 74% for species most closely associated with flower-rich habitats and 57% for species of the wider countryside, although since 2011 the indicators have been broadly stable. Since 1980, the indicator of insect pollinator distribution in Great Britain which covers almost 400 species of bees and hoverflies, has declined by 13% although similarly, this indicator shows no overall change since 2011.

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