This beetle is listed as a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) species and is also part of English Nature's Species Recovery Programme (SRP). With a grant from the SRP, the People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), which is leading a campaign to restore the fortunes of this species, are undertaking a series of surveys to establish the number of populations that still exist in Britain and to identify the key sites. It has become apparent that the greatest concentration of noble chafers is found on the site of the old fruit orchards in Worcestershire. Old orchards, as a habitat, are under threat in the UK through changes in agricultural practices and because the large retail stores are increasingly sourcing their fruit from overseas. Many old orchards are being bulldozed as traditional fruit growing becomes uneconomical. This, together with the disappearance of wood pasture and the habit of 'tidying up' many other rotten trees, has reduced the opportunities for these chafers to find suitable breeding sites. Funding is being offered through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme to encourage the owners of orchards to retain their old, rotten trees. Some orchards where the chafer has been found have been included in the notification of the Wyre Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and agreed management plans have been produced in an attempt to maintain the noble chafer populations.
From time to time, chafers are recorded from other places, away from the known population sites, and it is likely that other colonies of this species exist. Because of its similarity to the rose chafer, it is tricky to identify noble chafers without a close inspection. There have been a number of sightings around orchards in Oxfordshire so there is a population of chafers somewhere in this area.However, it is hoped that, by conserving their 'old English' habitats, and with greater public awareness, more populations of this attractive beetle will be discovered and protected. The campaigning group, Common Ground, have incorporated the noble chafer into their logo as part of their campaign to highlight the disappearance of old orchards.
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan
for this species is available at UK BAP