A NETWORK of "bee roads" are to be planted in a project to provide a new habitat for insects and butterflies.

The scheme will be trialled in Yorkshire where it is hoped that farmers and landowners will come forward to identify patches of land where wildflowers can be planted to bring in pollinators such as bees and moths.

The 60,000 pilot scheme is being funded by The Co-operative, as part of its 750,000 Plan Bee campaign.

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Organisers will contact landowners and give them support to create wildflower meadows.

It is hoped that species such as Lesser Knapweed, Field Scabious, Birdsfoot Trefoil and Red Clover will be sown, which are becoming increasingly rare in the British countryside.

These wildflowers will offer a habitat for pollinators such as honeybees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths to find the nectar and pollen they need.

The plan is to create two long sections of countryside full of wildflowers, one running from North to South and the other from East to West, across the county.

Paul Monaghan, head of social goals at The Co-operative said: "The UK has lost 97 per cent of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s and this has had a major impact on pollinator numbers.

"The number of honeybees in the UK has halved in the last 25 years, and three quarters of butterfly species and two thirds of moths have seen population declines since the 1970's.

"By setting up these Bee Roads we hope to make life easier for all pollinators and reverse their alarming decline."