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Belfast to join All-Ireland Pollinator Plan

By Michael Kenwood

Belfast council has agreed for the city to join the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.

At the council’s recent People and Communities Committee meeting (May 10) a proposal to become a formal partner of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan received cross party support.

Belfast City Council now has to carry out one pollinator-friendly action in the first year of signing up and plan to carry out at least three more within the following five years. A guideline document lists 30 possible actions, many of which are low cost or cost neutral.

Read more: Belfast Cathedral Garden plan to see 'urban forest' in city centre

The plan aims to make public, private and farm land pollinator friendly, to have an All Ireland Honeybee Strategy, and to conserve rare pollinators.

Earlier this year the council agreed to support the Belfast’s Buzzing Pollinator Project with BugLife, which aims to promote insect pollinators in parks and open spaces and engage with local communities in the recovery of nature within their local area.

£5,000 designated to the Belfast’s Buzzing project will form the focus of the council’s commitment to the All Ireland Pollinator Plan over the next two years.

Sinn Fein Councillor Matt Garrett told the committee: “Where do we sign up to this? This is very important.”

Green Councillor Anthony Flynn said the council should rethink its way of dealing with weeds on public land, and its use of chemicals. He said: “When we talk about local biodiversity, what we call weeds, bees absolutely love.

“And when we talk about pollinators, that is one incredibly important way we can change land use, particularly in our local parks. Actually rewilding certain areas in parks, and using that as a way to educate people in communities as to how local biodiversity works.”

Insect pollination is essential to food production. Wild bees pollinate between 85 and 95 percent of the UK’s insect pollinated crops, while honeybees pollinate between 5 and 15 percent. This free service is estimated to be worth £1.8 billion each year.

More than half of our bee species have suffered declines over the past 50 years with over 250 UK pollinators in danger of extinction. Habitat loss is the problem - Northern Ireland has lost 97 percent of its wildflower meadows in the last half century.

Read more: Belfast's Bog Meadows to host city's first ever 'Swamp Festival'

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Dive Deeper:
Bee highways: how they work and why we need them
Hundreds of miles of bee highways are being created across the UK to halt the drastic decline in the insect’s…
The Earth's Corr: Authorities have a lot to answer for over tree destruction in bird nesting season
Nature is collapsing around us while those in charge stand idly by - and even in some cases cause the…
Belfast people 'despair' after council remove 200m of Hawthorne trees in bird nesting season
The incident on public land has been reported to police
How climate change is triggering a global collapse in insect numbers
A growing number of reports are suggesting insect numbers are in steep decline. Tim Newbold and Charlie Outhwaite explain why…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
The Earth's Corr: 11 things NI politicians can do to improve our lives and the climate
If Stormont don’t do something and fast, all we’ll have left is an industrial waste land bereft of any life…
Beyond honey: 4 essential reads about bees
As spring gardening kicks into high gear, bees emerge from hibernation and start moving from flower to flower. These hardworking…
Get all your news in one place