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Ground Control Starts Work To Create Pollinator Pathways

Ground Control Starts Work To Create Pollinator Pathways

THE GLOBAL POLLINATOR CRISIS

  • Pollinators help provide one third of the food we eat, pollinate more than 80% of our flowering plants and contribute around £690 million a year to the UK economy.
  • More than half of UK bee, butterfly and moth species have declined in the past 50 years, and 30 species of bees face extinction. Over the last 75 years we’ve lost 97% of our flower rich meadows, 50% of our hedgerows, and 60% of flowering plants are in decline.
  • In November 2014 DEFRA released ‘The National Pollinator Strategy: for bees and other pollinators in England’ outlining, among other thing, the strategy to increase pollinator numbers.
  • Working with Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Highways England, Ground Control is helping to boost pollinators by creating 115 hectares of wildflower rich habitat across North West Cumbria, (Along B-lines, the A66 and A595 corridor to the west of the M6)
  • The Project started August 13th, with the first week covering shifts over a 24 hour period.

Why Is There A Global Bee Decline?
The demand for pollinators is increasing at a strong rate, but they are in rapid decline, especially in North America and Europe. Reasons why include:

  • Climate change and the erratic weather conditions which is having an impact on the pollinator populations
  • Bee-killing pesticides
  • The build-up of industrial agriculture and heavy use of chemical fertilizers, including insecticides which affect the health of the pollinators – individually and at colony level.
  • Urban development and the loss of bio-diversity
  • Loss of places to forage or overcrowding. Since the mid 1940’s there have been a loss of 97% of Wildflower meadows which has resulted in very little natural habitat for bees
  • Over the last few decades’ parasites such as Verroa Destructor, one of the bee’s greatest enemies to Bees weaken the bee and lead to birth defects, viruses and attacking their nervous system.

What Does This Mean?
The decline in pollinators could significantly damage our food industry and overall economy. Lack of pollinators that naturally support the growth of crops will in turn reduce yield, which could impact on farming in the UK and require expensive importation of crops from other countries. Not only this, the reduction in pollinating species will hinder the growth of some of our native flower species, resulting in depreciation in the aesthetics of our landscapes.
The National Pollination Strategy The National Pollination Strategy outlines the government’s commitment to improving the status of bees and other pollinators in our country, as well as build up our understanding of populations and causes of decline. The 10 year strategy outlines actions to expand food, shelter and nesting sites for pollinators in an attempt to boost populations. This will be done so via 5 key areas:

  • Support pollinators within farmlands
  • Support pollinators across towns, cities and countryside’s
  • Enhance the response to disease and pests
  • Raise awareness
  • Improve evidence of the status of pollinators

Creating Pollinator Pathways – Ground Control Works with Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Highways England
Ground Control is fully invested in supporting the strategy through the Get Cumbria Buzzing Project. The project will create 115 hectares of wildflower rich habitat for pollinators over 62 sites in Cumbria, many of which are along existing road networks and will be installed by our landscape construction teams. The sites have been mapped using a concept known as Pollinator Pathways, first developed by Sarah Bergmann in Seattle Washington. The idea focuses on the design of landscapes to link natural environments/ green spaces together to create stepping stones for pollinators to travel between, take shelter within and feed from. Modern landscapes created to accommodate roads, and buildings have fragmented our natural environment, resulting in few connections for plants and pollinators. This idea has been adapted by Bug life – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust. Bug life have used the idea of pollinator pathways and applied to create a network of ‘B-lines’ throughout our country, that create corridors for insects to travel between open spaces. A large amount of B-lines follow our existing transport corridors such as rail and road which are quite often surrounded by grassed verges and green areas off network that are undisturbed which have the potential to be utilised as sites for wildflower establishment. The introduction of pollinator pathways will connect green spaces, making it easier for pollinators to travel between feeding sites and provide more opportunities to rest and breed.

 

Watch the  ITV news reports on Pollinator Pathways –  https://www.itv.com/news/border/2019-09-20/road-to-change-how-wildflowers-on-cumbria-s-verges-could-save-the-bees/

For more information please contact:

Anna Slater
anna.slater@ground-control.co.uk
Tel: 07811 2777 47

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