Minister for the Environment, Rebecca Pow today (Monday, May 23), launched the government’s new Pollinator Action Plan (PAP) which sets out how government, beekeepers, conservation groups, farmers, researches, industry and the public can work together to help pollinators in England thrive.

The PAP will focus on a number of what the government calls ‘key areas’, which include strengthening the evidence base to improve understanding of trends and impacts in pollination, managing land with pollinators in mind, sustaining pollinator health and engaging the public with regard to this topic.

One example of such public engagement falls under the Public Engagement in Plant Health Accord which was also announced at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show today.

The agreement sees 29 organisations commit to improving public engagement with plant health and biosecurity.

Another example is a fresh call by Minister Pow encouraging the public to count bees, butterflies and other pollinators through the free FIT Count app, which is supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra); the Welsh and Scottish Governments; Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs; the Joint Nature Conservation Committee; and project partners, including the UK Centre For Ecology and Hydrology; the Bumblebee Conservation Trust; Butterfly Conservation; British Trust for Ornithology; Hymettus; Natural History Museum; University of Reading; and the University of Leeds.

 “We all want to see an abundance of butterflies and bees in our gardens, parks and countryside,” said Minister Pow.

“We are encouraging people to give just ten minutes of their time to count the pollinating insects they see using this app to help us track their numbers and movements, and support our efforts to reverse the decline of these vital species.

“I am very excited to be launching the latest Pollinator Action Plan at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, where the essential role of bees and pollinators are rightfully taking centre stage,” she added.

“It sets out a range of actions over the next few years to support these species, and is part of our wider drive to improve nature recovery and increase biodiversity through our world-leading Environment Act, and through a range of our new farming policies, too, where restoring nature will complement food production.”

Dr. Chris Hartfield, senior regulatory affairs adviser with the National Farmer’s Union (NFU) Plant Health Unit added that the NFU “look forward to continuing to help steer the work under the new Pollinator Action Plan”.