B&Q boost for butterflies

Comma Butterfly in garden

Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation is pleased to announce a new partnership with B&Q to encourage customers to take action to help butterflies and other pollinators.

Butterflies are important indicators of the health of the environment. By helping them, gardeners can help create a better home for wildlife, especially beneficial insects such as bees that play a vital role in pollinating wildflowers and many crops.

B&Q customers are being encouraged to plant butterfly and pollinator-friendly plants in their gardens.

People are also being asked to help record the butterflies they see in their gardens throughout the year as part of the Garden Butterfly Survey.

The UK’s estimated 22 million gardens represent an area roughly the size of Somerset and, at a time when butterflies face unprecedented threat, offer a potentially huge and vitally important habitat.

Butterfly sightings can be entered online at www.gardenbutterflysurvey.org to help build a picture of the fortunes of these beautiful insects. These records are stored so that gardeners can keep a tally of all the species seen over the years.

The partnership is part of B&Q’s long running sustainability programme, One Planet Home. As the UK’s largest garden centre chain, B&Q is taking the lead in encouraging greener gardening by helping customers to grow their own produce and to support wildlife in gardens.

B&Q was this year awarded the title of ‘Greenest Garden Centre’ for its ongoing commitment to sustainability. All of its wood – from fence handles to tool handles is responsibly sourced, it stopped selling patio heaters, non-native invasive plants and the worst neonicotinoid based pesticides because they were so counter to its sustainability goals.

B&Q is also pioneering alternatives to peat and has made great strides to minimise its use – including in its multi award winning peat-free EasyGrow bedding plants.

Peatland is home to a wide variety of specialist plants and insects including threatened butterflies such as the Large Heath, so customers can buy nectar rich plants to benefit pollinators without harming this crucial habitat.

Rachel Bradley, Sustainability Manager at B&Q and recognised as ‘Unsung Hero’ at the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards 2016, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Butterfly Conservation on this important work to count and support butterflies and other pollinators.

“Our customers’ gardens are a vital habitat for butterflies and it’s never been easier to increase the amount of pollinator-friendly plants within our green spaces.

“Paired with taking action in B&Q’s own operations, One Planet Home is all about helping people celebrate and support the environment. Alongside helping them thrive, butterfly counting is fun and rewarding for adults and children alike and is a great way of getting closer to nature.”

Dr Martin Warren, Chief Executive of Butterfly Conservation, said: “B&Q has a wonderful track record in promoting sustainable gardening and enabling their customers to help wildlife.

“By going peat-free, they are leading the way in protecting vital peatland habitats that are so important to butterflies and many other specialist plants and animals. Through the partnership, we want to make it easy for every B&Q customer to do their bit to conserve butterflies and other pollinators.”