The NFU has called for interested parties to comment on Defra’s consultation on its National Pollinator Strategy for bees and other pollinators in England before it closes on Friday 2 May.
The NFU says that with 70 per cent of the UK landscape being farmland, the strategy includes proposals for the management of farmland to benefit pollinators, adding "so Defra needs to hear the views of individual farmers and growers about the actions proposed and how they would work for their farm businesses".
The proposed strategy responds by focussing on three main elements:
1. Gathering evidence on pollinator status and impacts of pressures to provide a sound base for future policies to support pollinators. The NFU believes the proposed actions for further research and monitoring tackle the gaps in our knowledge in a "sensible and balanced way".
2. Policy actions in areas where we do have good existing evidence.
3. A commitment to review and refresh the strategy’s aims and actions as new evidence becomes available.
There are six proposed policy actions (numbers 2-7) specifically focussed on the management of farmland:
Ensure pollinators are a key focus of CAP reform under Pillars I and II, and in the development of targeted voluntary actions (e.g. Campaign for the Farmed Environment)
Secure commitment of farm advice providers to draw on the ‘Call to Action’ package for pollinators
Develop and implement on-farm pollinator events, led by CFE and supported by the new CFE leaflet ‘Pollinator management for your farm business’
Review and update Integrated Pest Management (IPM) guidance and information, and distribute it to farmers (led by HSE working with others)
The Voluntary Initiative (VI) to revise and re-publish guidance on insecticide best practice, and make sure annual spray operators training includes ‘more detailed coverage on the responsible use of insecticides’
Facilitate increased sharing of IPM practices between farmers and growers, including on-farm demonstrations, walks and workshops (led by Defra working with CFE and others)