Scotland

Pollen plan to bring back bees and butterflies in Scotland

bee Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Research has suggested that the population of pollinating insects has declined drastically since the 1980s

The Scottish government has set out a 10-year plan to halt the decline of bee and butterfly populations.

The number of pollinating insects in Scotland, including bees, butterflies and hoverflies, has declined by an estimated 51% since 1980.

There are fears this could have a negative impact on farming, food security, the economy and human health.

Ministers have approved a "pollinator strategy" in a bid to protect the insects and boost flower-rich habitats.

Scottish Natural Heritage led the development the strategy, alongside a range of environment and land management groups such as the Bee Farmers Association, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the National Farmers Union and Scottish Land and Estates.

Proposals include:

  • greater use of green urban infrastructure, like rooftop gardens
  • the restoration and creation of habitats rich in flowers
  • development of bee and butterfly-friendly pest control
  • new research into the impact of climate change on pollinators

SNH chairman Mike Cantlay said there was "growing evidence" that bees and butterflies were "facing tough times".

He said: "Pollination is crucial for our environment - and, therefore, our own health, wealth and wellbeing.

"This strategy sets out what needs to be done to ensure these bees and insects survive and thrive for generations to come, contributing to healthy ecosystems and landscapes in our country."

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham added: "Scotland's biodiversity is one of our key assets, and the contribution the humble bumble bee and other pollinators make to this wonderful environment should not be underestimated. That is why we are committed to making Scotland a more pollinator friendly place.

"Pressures like land use change, pesticides, pollution, disease and climate change are threatening these life-giving insects, so we must act now to protect the pollinators and in turn safeguard our environment, our food and in turn our health."

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