Friends of the Earth praises Devon County Council for its pollinator action plan
Posted on: 19 July 2018
Friends of the Earth have urged local authorities across the UK to follow the example of Devon County Council and Dorset County Council and draw up a Pollinator Action Plan.
Friends of the Earth say that they are the only county councils that have drawn up a strategy to tackle the decline of pollinating insects, such bees and butterflies.
And now Buglife and Friends of the Earth are urging councils across the UK to do the same.
Insect pollinators, including bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths, are vital as they help wild plants and commercial crops to grow.
They are particularly important in Devon, with the county’s abundance of diverse and wildlife-rich countryside and large farming sector.
Since 1900 20 species of bees have been lost in England and a further 35 are under threat of extinction because of disease, climate change, habitat loss and pesticide use.
Habitat loss is a major contributor towards pollinator decline, and Friends of the Earth has drawn up a guide that includes easy, cost-effective measures to protect and restore pollinator-friendly habitats.
A YouGov poll for Friends of the Earth and Buglife last year revealed that almost two thirds of the population (63%) agreed that local councils should be doing more to protect Britain’s bees.
Friends of the Earth South West campaigner Sion Elis Williams said: “South West councils are leading the way on protecting our bees. Local authorities have a crucial role to play in protecting our pollinators – and we urge other councils in the region to take action too.
“Measures such as allowing patches of grass to grow longer in parks and on road verges aren’t just good news for bees, they can save thousands of pounds for local councils too. “From boosting precious wildlife habitat to encouraging residents to take action, our handy guide for local authorities sets out the action councils can take to help save Britain’s bees.”
Paul Evans, Buglife Pollinator Advisor, said: “Local authorities need to be leading the way, both by demonstrating good practice in their parks and verge management and by enthusing and helping their local communities to take action themselves. By developing a Local Pollinator Action Plan, local authorities can ensure that the needs of pollinators are considered across all their functions, and that positive action is embedded in their work into the longer-term.”
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services said: “The pollinator’s action plan was formed to enshrine Devon County Council’s commitment to protecting pollinators through direct land management of the Council’s estate, as a local planning authority and as a strategic authority and to guide action across DCC’s services to support the conservation of bees and other pollinators. For instance, we have a strict policy which ensures that weed control only takes place to prevent damage to infrastructure like drains carriageways and we do not use insecticides during these routine functions.
“However, it must also be recognised that for any strategy to truly be effective it must be a collective effort and we play a key role in encouraging and supporting organisations and communities and neighbouring councils through the Devon Local Nature Partnership, and encourage the public to take action through our ‘Keep Devon Buzzing’ campaign. This has successfully encouraged communities and schools to create areas of wildflowers, build well designed bug hotels and take other positive steps to conserve pollinators across Devon.”Posted in: Environment