Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 8th February 2021.

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Photo of Darren Henry Darren Henry Conservative, Broxtowe

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure the provisions in The National Pollinator Strategy: for bees and other pollinators in England are being upheld.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Pollinators are a priority for this Government, and we are taking action alongside many partners to implement the National Pollinator Strategy’s provisions. We are addressing the pressures on wild and managed pollinators, restoring and creating habitat for them to thrive, raising awareness across society and strengthening the evidence base.

To manage pressures on pollinators associated with the use of pesticides, we operate a strict system of regulation, including a thorough risk assessment by our expert regulator, the Health and Safety Executive. Pesticides that pose unacceptable risks – including to pollinators - are not authorised. With the Devolved Administrations, we are also consulting on the revised National Action Plan for Sustainable Use of Pesticides. This lays out how we intend to support the uptake of integrated pest management, including to reduce risks to pollinators.

Our Healthy Bees Plan 2030, published in November 2020, works to improve honeybee health through better husbandry and knowledge sharing. The National Bee Unit carries out around 6,500 risk-based apiary inspections per year in England and Wales.

On habitat restoration and creation, Natural England estimates that the area of land covered by agri-environment scheme options delivering pollen and nectar for pollinators increased by 30,000 hectares between 2014 and 2019. We are also supporting nature recovery through our Green Recovery Challenge Fund, with three of the projects awarded in round 1 focusing specifically on pollinators.

We are building on these measures and projects in the design of the new Environmental Land Management scheme, which will help improve biodiversity and species’ status, and enable many more farmers and land managers to take positive action for pollinators and other farm wildlife.

To strengthen the evidence base, we work closely with leading academics and have introduced a national pollinator monitoring scheme across the whole of the UK, with trend estimates published annually as official statistics. To raise awareness and highlight the action that people take across the country, Defra coordinates a ‘Bees’ Needs’ campaign including public events, best practice advice and awards.

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