With so much pressure to build housing and infrastructure in the UK, coupled with the pressure on wild habitats, loss of wildflower meadowland, and use of pesticides, it's no surprise bees and other pollinators have been going through such a hard time.
Gardeners in the UK can make a massive difference, because collectively they take up a huge area, as do grassy verges and council owned land.
However, I was also interested (and mostly encouraged) to learn who the UK's biggest landowners are, for the simple reason that of the 10 biggest owners, quite a few of them were conservation charities or government ownership. With regard to government ownership, there is surely scope to keep up the pressure on politicians to ensure such land is managed with wildlife habitat in mind (if it isn't already).
1. The Forestry Commission: 1.7 million acre - 2.8% of all UK land.
Owned by the Government and created in 1919, the Forestry Com-mission looks after 1.4 billion trees. It has helped to expand Britain’s woodlands by an area more than three times the size of Greater London in the past 20 years. We must lobby all we can to prevent further parts of this forest from development and passing into private hands.
2. The National Trust: 0.62 million acres (1.02%).
Conservation organisation. Houses, gardens, coastal, farm - and moorland, the Trust remains a major landowner. How they manage their land matters.
3. The Ministry of Defence: 0.59 million acres (0.98%).
Again, government owned. More than two-thirds of Defence Estates’ land is considered ‘rural estate’ (opportunities?) held for training the armed forces. It includes 171 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
4. The Pension Funds - 550,000 acres
Many of the UK’s 2,800-plus major pension funds have invested in land for hundreds of years. This land would presumably have to be managed in line with government farming intiiatives and regulations.
5. Utilities: water,electricity, railways - 500,000 acres
Includes reservoirs such as Bewl Water.
6. The Crown Estate: 356,000 acres (0.59%)
Encompasses a wide variety of land, including farms, buildings, forests, coast line and sea beds.(Not actually owned by the Queen, but managed by a private company, who runs it on behalf of the monarch).
7. The RSPB - 321,237 acres
The RSPB - Royal Soceity For Protection Of Birds is not only mighty in terms of its one million-plus membership, its 200 nature reserves cover about 321,237 acres of UK land. Founded by volunteers 121 years ago, the organisation-which is now one of the UK’s richest charities-is continuing to grow at a rapid rate of knots. Last year, The Scotsman reported that RSPB Scotland’s landholding had increased to 124,000 acres from 87,000 acres in 2000, making it the eighth biggest landowner in Scotland.
8. The Duke of Buccleuch & Queensberry - 240,000 acres
Owning land across Scotland and some land in England.
9. The National Trust for Scotland -192,000 acres
Signficant land and property across Scotland.
10. Prince Charles (as the Duke of Cornwall): 133,000 acres (0.22%).
The Duchy of Cornwall, and organic land holder, is responsible for much land across the south of England.