STATISTICS from the recent global review of insect declines are worrying. The review describes “rates of decline that may lead to the extinction of 40 percent of the world's insect species over the next few decades” and an “annual 2.5 percent loss of biomass worldwide”.

In response to the review, Alex Sobel MP is hosting a House of Commons debate from 11.00 today about insect declines. Insect charity Buglife’s Chief Executive Matt Shardlow will be in attendance.

Matt said: “There is not one problem facing insects, they are diverse animals and are affected by many of the ways we are changing the planet. Without a doubt climate change, the loss and fragmentation of special habitats, and the impoverishment caused by intensive agriculture – of which pesticide over-use is the primary culprit - interact to create a pernicious threat to populations of insects. Species are stuck on islands of habitat, they die or fail to reproduce when they disperse into intervening agricultural land, and eventually blink out when climate change makes their homes uninhabitable".

The government has already introduced the following initiatives to help protect insects:

• developing a national pollinator network to reconnect wildlife

• introducing a national pollinator monitoring scheme

• moving towards paying land managers for providing public goods such as biodiversity and pollination services.

• banning of three bee harming and water polluting neonicotinoid insecticides.

However, Buglife advises that there are many further actions that need to be addressed. At the debate, Matt Shardlow will present the following suggestions:

• ensure environmental principles apply after Brexit

• establish statutory nature recovery network maps

• introduce legally binding targets for biodiversity recovery

• design new agri-environment schemes so that they deliver safe pollinator habitat and a national network of flower-rich habitats

• support the introduction of EU wide tests to establish if new pesticides are going to harm wild bee populations

• reduce the pollution of water courses with insecticides, flea treatments and pharmaceuticals toxic to insect life.

• improve the protection of rare and endangered species in the planning system and introduce measures to reduce light pollution levels.

• undertake a full risk assessment of electromagnetic radiation environmental risks

• find new ways of directing significant new funds towards saving biodiversity

• increase investment in the science needed to develop sustainable agriculture, reduce pesticide dependence and halt and reverse the decline of species.