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Following a report citing a widespread crash in bees and pollinators – with an average decline of 25% across all bees and hoverflies since 1980 – the Soil Association (SA) has called on the UK Government to support nature-friendly farming.

The study – Widespread losses of pollinating insects in Britain, published in Nature Communications – looked at the distribution of insects rather than the numbers in each area, indicating that the decline in numbers of pollinators is likely to be a lot higher, in line with global insect crash trends, says the SA.

The report concluded that the fall was ‘likely driven by a host of pressures known to act upon pollinators, including habitat loss, climate change, and pesticides’, with several declines coinciding with introduction of neonicotinoids in 2007 (now banned), adding that what is needed is a more diverse farming landscape, with lots of flower-rich meadows and nesting areas.

It’s never been clearer that Government needs to support farmers to transition to more agroecological farming, with 50% more wildlife on organic farms and a recent study showing agroecology can feed Europe’s population healthily while phasing out pesticides

“The crash in pollinators since the 1980s is yet more grim news for British wildlife and is a stark warning that the Government urgently needs to support farmers to reduce reliance on pesticides,” states Gareth Morgan, SA head of policy. “With several of the pollinator declines coinciding with the introduction of neonicotinoids in 2007, the report shows the ban on neonics was right and should be upheld”.

He continues: “It’s never been clearer that Government needs to support farmers to transition to more agroecological farming, with 50% more wildlife on organic farms and a recent study showing agroecology can feed Europe’s population healthily while phasing out pesticides.”​

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About the Author

Jane Wolfe

Deputy Editor
Natural Products News deputy editor Jane Wolfe re-joined NPN in 2013 having previously worked for the magazine as a sub and freelance journalist from its Steyning beginnings.

Articles by Jane Wolfe
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