Bumblebees: licence for emergency release of non-native species for pollination or research (CL28)

Get a licence to release non-native bumblebee species in commercial glasshouses or polytunnels for crop pollination and research when native species aren't available.


Licence to release non-native bumblebees in glasshouses and polytunnels (CL28)

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If you own, manage or assist in a commercial horticultural business or research establishment, you can register to release non-native bumblebee colonies in:

  • glasshouses
  • polytunnels

With this class licence you can release these species and their hybrids:

  • Bombus terrestris terrestris
  • Bombus terrestris dalmatinus

This licence can only be used in an emergency when commercial native bumblebees are not available. You cannot use this licence for non-commercial situations, such as in gardens, allotments or orchards.

How to register to use this licence

You can only use this licence if you are registered to use it (the registered person) or an assistant to the registered person.

You can only register if your commercial horticulture business or research establishment has been registered with Natural England.

To register this licence you must send, ideally to

  • the name of a responsible person (such as the owner or manager)
  • the name and address (including post code), phone number and email address of the premises where you plan to release the non-native species
  • a short description of the premises (such as greenhouse, polytunnel) and the types of crops that’ll be pollinated
  • how non-native bumblebees will be used in research (if a research project)
  • evidence of why native commercial bumblebees weren’t available and what action was taken to try to obtain native hives

The licence can only be used at the address supplied to Natural England and by the registered person and their assistants. You do not need to re-register each year as long as you are keeping to the terms and conditions of the licence.

How to report your actions

You must send an annual report to Natural England of any actions taken under this licence by 31 January each year.

Published 1 January 2015
Last updated 1 January 2019 + show all updates
  1. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2019
  2. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2018
  3. Annual licence update 2017.
  4. Replaced licence with new version issued 1 January 2016.
  5. CL22 has been replaced by CL28, valid from 1 January to 31 December 2015
  6. First published.