A new report has revealed a widespread crash in pollinators, with an average decline of 25 percent across all bees and hoverflies since 1980.

The report concluded that intensification of farming and pesticides are the major drivers behind the declines, alongside climate impacts in the north, and that several declines coincided with introduction of neonicotinoids in 2007.

It also reported that the decline in numbers of insects was likely to be a lot higher, as the report looks only at whether a species occurred in a km square and therefore didn’t look at changes in numbers in the areas where a species may still be found.

Therefore even in the 10 percent of species that have increased their range, tracking the expansion of oilseed rape, we cannot be confident that numbers aren’t falling in line with the global trend of 2.5 percent fall in insect mass every year.

The report concluded that what is needed is a more diverse farming landscape, with lots of flower-rich meadows and nesting areas, as vulnerable bee species cannot range far to find these.

Gareth Morgan, Soil Association head of policy, said: “The crash in pollinators since the 1980s is yet more grim news for British wildlife and is a stark warning that the government urgently needs to support farmers to reduce reliance on pesticides.

With several of the pollinator declines coinciding with the introduction of neonicotinoids in 2007, the report shows the ban on neonics was right and should be upheld, and echoes last month’s research revealing a steep decline in global insect populations linked to intensive farming and pesticide use. The UK urgently needs to transition to a more diverse farming landscape that can support pollinators with more flower-rich meadows and nesting areas, and less reliance on chemicals.

"It’s never been clearer that government needs to support farmers to transition to more agroecological farming, with 50 percent more wildlife on organic farms and a recent study showing agroecology can feed Europe’s population healthily while phasing out pesticides.”