Gardens: Biodiversity

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 12th April 2019.

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Photo of Damien Moore Damien Moore Conservative, Southport

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department and its agencies have made of the effect of residential gardens on biodiversity.

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

There are a number of research studies that demonstrate the value of domestic gardens for wildlife. For example, a 2019 study led by the University of Bristol found that bees were more abundant in well managed gardens and allotments than most other urban land uses.

Under the National Pollinator Strategy the Government works with research, voluntary and private sector partners to develop advice so that everyone can provide and manage nesting and feeding habitat for bees and other insects in their gardens, window boxes, allotments or community gardens. We promote this advice through the “Bees’ Needs” website and through the annual “Bees’ Needs Week” campaign to celebrate and encourage nationwide action.

We are also addressing the needs of biodiversity in urban areas through plans to introduce a biodiversity net gain requirement. This will help to ensure that new developments include wildlife-friendly green spaces. The biodiversity metric that will be used to measure biodiversity net gain takes account of newly created gardens, so that this policy could help to incentivise the creation of gardens which have greater potential to become havens for local species.

We will continue to work in partnership with scientists and practitioners to review and improve the evidence base to inform our policy and we will be sharing examples of nature-friendly gardening during the 2019 Year of Green Action.

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