5949 - Bees (Answered)

Mrs Anne Main
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate she has made of the change in the UK's bee population since December 2013.

George Eustice

Recording from volunteer societies provides a rich source of data and complex modelling can be used to produce trends. In 2014, using this approach, Defra published a pilot indicator of changes in the bee population in the UK between 1980 and 2010. Between 1980 and 2010, the indicator fell to 62 percent of its 1980 value. It is not yet possible to provide a trend since 2013; further development of the indicator should allow for assessment in future years.

The Government continues to work to strengthen monitoring of insect pollinators. In early 2014, Defra commissioned a two-year research study to design and test a robust and affordable national monitoring framework that can be applied across the UK. This study is due to be completed later this year. It has made significant progress with engaging key audiences involved in insect and wider biodiversity monitoring and is currently testing pilot methods at sites across the UK.