Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton led a debate in the House of Commons yesterday calling for robust action to be taken to halt the decline of pollinator species.

Recent years have seen the numbers of pollinating insects reduce. Bees have been particularly badly affected, with nearly 50% of European bee hives not making it through the winter, a trend echoed in North America. These losses are having a serious impact on biodiversity, and if they are not stemmed soon will affect food production across the world. One third of all the crops we consume rely on insects for pollination, with pollinators being worth and estimated £603 million a year to UK agriculture.

Mrs Newton’s bid to hold a Parliamentary debate to discuss pollinator decline attracted cross party support and was approved by the Backbench Business Committee. Launching yesterday’s debate Mrs Newton highlighted how pollinator decline was driven by a range of factors, including climate change, disease and the use of agri-chemicals.

Mrs Newton then made the case for a range of measures to be included in the Government’s National Pollinator Strategy, due to be published later this autumn. Drawing on proposals discussed at the recent Cornwall Bee Summit, enabled by Tregothnan, where members of the WI, Parish Councillors, leading local beekeepers, DEFRA, Cornwall Council's ecologist, the Gaia Trust and academics from Exeter University and Duchy College came together to discuss how to save British bees and pollinators. Mrs Newton called for the Strategy to focus support on resilient native pollinators such as the Cornish Black Bee. She also called for more to be done to help farmers and Cornwall Council as well as members of the public to create ideal outdoor environments for pollinators.

Commenting Mrs Newton said: ‘‘We need our pollinators, and in a fast changing world our pollinators need us. I was pleased to be able to make the case for a robust and evidence led National Pollinator Strategy on the floor of the House of Commons, a case immeasurably strengthened by the Cornish expertise shared at last week’s Cornwall Bee Summit.

‘‘I look forward to the National Pollinator Strategy being published in due course and to a strong plan really making a difference for pollinators, and the farmers who rely on them.’’