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Wildflower corridor scheme launched in bid to boost insect numbers in England

Source: BBC

The ‘B-Lines’ initiative will create a network of wildflower highways across the UK to help bees and other pollinators suffering from habitat loss.

b-lines initiative launches to create corridors for wildlife to move around the country

B-Lines are an imaginative and beautiful solution to the problem of the loss of flowers and pollinators. The B-Lines are a series of ‘insect pathways’ running through the UK’s countryside and towns, along which BugLife—the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates—are restoring and creating a series of wildflower-rich habitat stepping stones. They link existing wildlife areas together, creating a network, like a railway, that will weave across the British landscape. This will provide large areas of brand new habitat benefiting bees and butterflies– but also a host of other wildlife.

B-Lines mapping is now complete for Wales, Northern Ireland, and England; the Scotland map will also be completed by the end of the year.
The B-Lines initiative will create a network of wildflower corridors across the UK to help pollinators, along with other insects and small animals. B-Lines mapping is now complete for Wales, Northern Ireland, and England; the Scotland map will also be completed by the end of the year. Source: buglife.org.uk

B-Lines initiative to create network of wildflower highways across UK to help insects

You could be forgiven for mistaking the red (and blue) lines that crisscross the map of England and Wales for main roads – and in a way they are. But instead of cars and trucks, these wildflower highways will carry bees and other pollinators as part of an initiative to halt the decline of insects.

Dubbed B-Lines, the online map joins the dots between existing wildflower habitats in England and identifies suitable routes between them that could be turned into wildflower corridors for pollinators.

The map was launched by the conservation charity Buglife, which is calling on farmers, businesses, public bodies and individuals to plant wildflowers along its B-Lines network in a bid to restore habitats that pollinators depend on.

England has lost an estimated 97% of its wildflower meadows since the second world war. This rampant habitat loss has had a catastrophic effect on butterflies, hoverflies and bees, with numbers of some species estimated to have fallen by 80 per cent in recent years.

“A complete England B-Lines network is a real landmark step in our mission to reverse insect declines and lend a helping hand to our struggling pollinators,” Catherine Jones, pollinator officer at Buglife told Positive.News. “We hope that organisations and people across England will help with our shared endeavour to create thousands of hectares of new pollinator-friendly wildflower habitats along the B-Lines.”

Through regional projects such as the West of England B-Lines project, Landscapes for Wild Pollinators, South Wales B-Lines, Get Cumbria Buzzing and John Muir Pollinator Way, BugLife have explored new creative ways of working with different partners to deliver the B-Lines habitat creation and restoration on the ground.  

BugLife have worked with water companies, schools, businesses, farmers, highways managers and local authorities. To date, their regional B-Lines partnership projects have delivered over 450 hectares of wildflower-rich habitat for pollinating insects across England, Scotland and Wales – that’s the equivalent of 450 football pitches!

The initiative will not, however, be a cure-all for addressing the worrying decline of bees and other insects, which continue to be impacted by habitat loss, as well as the widespread use of pesticides and, increasingly, climate change.

B-Lines mapping is now complete for Wales, Northern Ireland, and England; the Scotland map will also be completed by the end of the year.

Source: Positive.News

As well as producing a sensational splash of colour throughout the summer months, it provides a urban habitat for many insects, including bees. Great news for the environment, and the scheme also helps the council save around £23,000 in mowing costs per each two-year cycle.
The South Yorkshire town of Rotherham has been planting wild flowers along eight miles of highways for the past six years. As well as producing a sensational splash of colour throughout the summer months, it provides a urban habitat for many insects, including bees. Great news for the environment, and the scheme also helps the council save around £23,000 in mowing costs per each two-year cycle. Source: Rotherham.gov.uk
Make an Impact

What can you do to help?

B-Lines continues to inspire and gain huge support from conservation partners, farmers and other landowners, and from the public.  But, if we are to join all the dots we need your help.  Here are three things you can do right now — * Spread the word! We need to hear from landowners who would like to work with us to restore or create wildflower-rich habitats.  You could also speak to your local council about B-Lines – public green space can provide useful stepping stones for pollinators if managed in the right way. * Get stuck in! Take a look at our B-Lines map.  If you are on a B-Line, please add your pollinator patch, or use the resources on our website to plan one. * Join Buglife! We have the solutions to turning around the fortunes of disappearing insects, with your support we can turn our B-Lines plans into rivers of wildflowers.