Openreach joins UK-wide insect biodiversity survey, encouraging other vehicle fleet owners to step up

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Openreach, the UK’s largest wholesale broadband provider and the owner of the nation’s second largest commercial van fleet, has announced its involvement in the 2024 “Bugs Matter” survey.

The national citizen science study is organised by Buglife, Europe’s largest invertebrate conservation charity, and Kent Wildlife Trust, the county’s leading conservation charity to raise awareness of insect conservation.

The “Bugs Matter” study has been conducted on an annual basis since 2021, based on a reference survey by the RSPB in 2004. Analysis of records from nearly 26,500 UK journeys over this period shows a continuing decrease in insect numbers, with the number of insect splats nationwide in 2023, 78% lower than that of 2004.

By logging their 4,000 journeys, Openreach will help expand this dataset significantly and generate even more crucial data on flying insect populations across the UK.

This partnership is just one of the many ways in which Openreach is working to minimise its disturbance to natural habitats and move towards becoming a nature positive business

Andrew Whale, chief engineer for Openreach said: “Using our fleet and our engineers on the ground to support this important piece of citizen science is simply the right thing to do, and an easy one for everybody to take action for nature; we can all get involved, it’s very simple to do and we are proud to support one of our partners in improving this critical data.”

Paul Hetherington, director of fundraising and communications at Buglife, added: “Insects are vital for sustaining healthy ecosystems and biodiversity, but many species are declining at an alarming rate due to habitat loss, pollution, and other threats.

“We’re thrilled that Openreach is using their vast operational reach to amplify the Bugs Matter message. Their mobilization for this cause throws down the gauntlet for other major fleets to get onboard as well.”

Dr Lawrence Ball, lead ecological data analyst at Kent Wildlife Trust, said Bugs Matter is building a unique and incredibly valuable dataset, being the only large-scale and species-indiscriminate survey of flying invertebrate abundance.

“The commitment of Openreach and their drivers, will significantly increase the size of our dataset, making it more robust, and of even greater value for accurately estimating trends in insect abundance over time and space,” Dr Ball said.

Further details on supporting Bugs Matter can be found by clicking HERE.

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With more than 25 years' experience in business-to-business publishing, Simon is editor of LBM titles Pest and OvertheCounter. Big fan of Manchester United.