IN AN effort to make Britain a friendlier place for bees, a new campaign is encouraging the creation of ‘pollinator pit stops’ across the country's farmland, back gardens and window boxes.

Farmer-owned dairy cooperative Arla has launched 'the BEE ROAD' to enlist the British public, alongside its 2300 farmers, to create safe places for pollinators to refuel and rest.

The initiative was inspired by Arla’s ‘project pollinator’ initiative, which identified practical ways of providing and enhancing biodiversity on dairy farms. All Arla farmer owners must now work to support biodiversity, with many establishing wild flower meadows that encourage pollinators.

However, bee hotels on Arla farmers' land are not enough, as pollinators need more regularly-spaced places to rest, so consumers are also being called-to-action, with the support of supermarket Morrisons, and home and garden retailer Homebase. The initiative is also supported by bee and bug charity, Buglife.

Arla’s commitment to helping the public take part includes giving away over 100,000 packs of specially selected, pollinator-friendly seeds, and creating ‘how to’ guides and colouring kits to inspire children to get involved.

One of the dairy farmers taking part, Roger Hildreth, said: “I’ve been planting these patches on my farm for a few years now and it’s lovely to see them buzzing with visiting pollinators. As a farmer I’m proud to be able to make a positive difference to the environment and how we can protect the future of our food system, I’m even prouder to helping everyone else get involved and become part of the BEE ROAD too.”

Arla agriculture director, Alice Swift, explained: “Our farmer-owners work alongside nature every day and it’s their passion and love of the countryside that has allowed us to deliver this instrumental biodiversity project. It is really inspiring to see how their wild flower strips have flourished and become alive with pollinators. Farmers are true custodians of the countryside and this project is a great example of the valuable role they play in protecting the land for the next generation.

“Alongside our farmers, and retail partners Morrison’s and Homebase, there will be plenty of inspiration and cooperative spirit for everyone to get involved and do their bit.”

Agriculture manager at Morrisons, Sophie Throup, said: "Our bees play a vital role in pollinating our crops and we want to work with our farmers to look after them. We're excited to be a part of the BEE ROAD, and as well as working with our farmers, we'll work closely with our local communities to ensure we can help plant as many 'pollinator pit stops' as we can."

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