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Dorset County Council praised for its policy on protecting bees

Bees


9:09am 23rd July 2018

Dorset County Council is one of only three local authorities across England and Wales to have a plan in place aimed at protecting pollinating insects.

A survey carried out by Friends of the Earth and Buglife found that the only local authorities to have plans in place were in the South West with Devon and Cornwall also having adopted schemes.

The organisations are calling for councils to do more to improve habitats for the species which are estimated to be worth £400m a year to the UK economy.

Dorset County Council adopted its plan in 2016 with it introducing several guidelines for its work, including developing bee-friendly road verges.

It is estimated that the council’s policy of encouraging slower-growing wildflowers in verges over grasses saves the county £93,000 a year.

Bee

Dr Annabel King, senior ecologist at Dorset County Council said: “We are very proud to be one of the first local authorities to produce and implement a Pollinator Action Plan.

“The plan is integral to delivering our NERC (natural environment and rural communities) Act 2006, Biodiversity Duty and is specifically aimed at helping all pollinators, including bees, butterflies and moths, numbers of which have declined severely in the last 50 years.

“The plan has enabled us to make significant savings – we save around £93,000 a year by only cutting rural road verges when needed, allowing wildflowers and grasses to flower and set seed.”

Bee on flower

A YouGov poll for the two organisations, published last year, revealed that almost two-thirds of the population (63 per cent) agreed that councils should be doing more to protect 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.”

Only four other councils across England and Wales are in the process of developing pollinator action plans – Hampshire, Kent, Worcestershire and Somerset.

By Local Democracy Reporter, Trevor Bevins.



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