New report calls for ambitious help for insects

Nation of insect champions needed to reverse insect decline.
Bumble bee - Steven Morris

Bumble bee at East Chevington. Image by: Steven Morris.

Today The Wildlife Trusts publish a new report Reversing the Decline of Insects which shows how people, in every part of society, wherever they live, can take action to bring back insects. Everyone, everywhere, is being asked to become an insect champion.

The report cites examples of farmers, communities, councils and charities that are boosting insect populations and proving that it can be done.

The report comes at a critical time for insects. There is ongoing evidence for insect declines and the future of insects - and all life that depends on them - hangs in the balance as trade deals threaten to increase the use of insect-harming pesticides. Furthermore, the Agriculture Bill is progressing through Parliament presenting a unique opportunity to ensure farmers pursue insect-friendly farming methods.

All 46 Wildlife Trusts are calling on the Government to reverse the decline of insects by:

  • Setting an ambitious pesticide reduction target, as good as, if not better than, the EU’s target to reduce by 50% the overall use of, and risk from, chemical pesticides by 2030
  • No weakening of UK pesticide standards through future trade deals
  • Support for farmers to adopt insect-friendly farming practices

The Wildlife Trusts believe that reversing the decline of insects is possible if:

  • A network of nature-rich areas is created covering at least 30% of the UK, and legally binding targets are set for nature’s recovery which are monitored and enforced
  • Local councils prioritise green recovery and create more nature-rich places where insects can thrive and make cities, towns and parishes pesticide-free
  • Everyone steps up to become an insect champion

In this region, Northumberland Wildlife Trust has launched its own appeal to keep Northumberland buzzing. By donating to its Action for Insects Appeal, members of the public can help protect the smallest creatures which are essential for Northumberland’s wildlife and agriculture. 

Find out more at www.nwt.org.uk/actionforinsects.

Speaking about the decline of insects, Mike Pratt, Northumberland Wildlife Trust Chief Executive says: “In my lifetime 41% of wildlife species in UK have suffered strong or moderate decreases in their numbers and insects have suffered most. This has had a huge effect on the rest of the natural world. The vital role that insects perform is undermined and everything that depends on them suffers, from hedgehogs to nightingales, wildflowers to wetlands.

“It’s up to the Government to ensure we maintain our current environmental standards, not let them slip and jeopardise the wildlife we have left. The Agriculture Bill is a golden opportunity to set high standards in law and make sure insect-friendly farming practices are rewarded."

Lead author of the report, Professor Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex says: “If we get it right for insects, we get it right for everything else. Insects are the canaries in the coal mine – their collapse is an alarm bell that we must not ignore. Action is needed from every section of society – we all need to change this together.”

Download a free guide! Your Community Guide to taking Action for Insects and Your Guide to Taking Action for Insects are available at www.wildlifetrusts.org/take-action-insects. You’ll receive information and tips on insect-friendly gardening, going chemical-free and the small actions you can take that will really make a difference for insects.