Pollinators are an essential part of our environment and play a crucial role in food production through pollination. They contribute an estimated £500 million a year to UK agriculture and food production by improving crop quality. They are also vital to the wider natural environment, pollinating wildflowers and trees which then support other insects, birds and mammals.
However, Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) are one of the five drivers of biodiversity loss globally and are estimated to cost the economy £1.8 billion per year. The refreshed Great Britain Invasive Non-Native Species Strategy aims to minimise the risk of introduction and establishment of these invasive species and reduce their negative impacts. It provides a framework to deliver the most effective response to preventing, eradicating, and managing invasive non-native species. The strategy contains 55 key actions outlining how seven outcomes will be achieved by 2030.
Defra recognises that the Asian hornet is an invasive species which poses a serious threat to honey bees and other pollinators. Since 2015, the Government’s joint Asian hornet contingency plan sets out actions that will be taken in cases of the Asian hornet being discovered in Great Britain. Ministers have also funded the non-native species information portal, including its alert system, which plays an important role in tackling the threat posed by the Asian hornet, as well as horizon scanning exercises which help to understand the potential of future threats.
More widely, the Pollinator Action Plan sets out how the Government, beekeepers, conservation groups, farmers, researchers, and the public can work together to help pollinators in England thrive. The plan focuses on strengthening the evidence base to improve our understanding of pollination, managing land more effectively, sustaining pollinator health of managed and wild populations, and engaging the public through Bees’ Needs events.