- Christine Doherty
GUEST BLOG: The district council bringing back the bees with a Pollinator Plan
A No-Mow Area: Derry/Strabane District Council sign explaining that the grassland is being managed for biodiversity under the Green Infrastructure Plan
DERRY City and Strabane District Council have developed a Natural Capital Account for the council’s owned green and blue spaces, to show the value that these spaces provide for the wellbeing of citizens. Here, Dr CHRISTINE DOHERTY, the council's Lead Officer for Green Infrastructure,writes how a Pollinator Plan to support biodiversity was a vital action:
With World Bee Day on May 20th, Biodiversity Day on May 22nd and the #NoMowMay campaign in full swing, now is the perfect time to mark the importance of our pollinators.
Derry City & Strabane District Council have developed the first Green Infrastructure Plan 2019-2032 and associated Green Infrastructure Action Plan in Northern Ireland.
Biodiversity is a key part of this plan which aims to support wildlife, like bees, and habitats that provide vital ecosystem services. Several actions to improve biodiversity have already been delivered. We created a Pollinator Plan for council-owned green spaces and purchased equipment to change the grass management regime at ten key green spaces in 2020. This campaign aims to create species-rich grassland on 3% of our estate (at least 25ha), increasing the natural capital value of these sites for pollinators.
We will install signage at these key green spaces highlighting the biodiversity benefits of leaving the grass long and will trial a change in grass management in sections of these sites to bring back the bee population. This will involve cutting and lifting the grass in late summer to help improve the grassland management for pollinators. By changing this cutting and lifting regime, it will create grasslands rich in native wild flowers, which will help deliver the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.
It enhances ecological connectivity, contributes towards biodiversity net gain and increases the existing natural capital value of these sites for pollinators by £6,500 / annum. This change will also prevent 1.6 Tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, from the reduction in grass cutting at our ten key sites.
The Council has also been working in partnership with our neighbours at Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council in a knowledge learning and exchange programme, through the 'Don't Mow, Let it Grow' campaign.
For further information on the Council's Pollinator Plan, visit www.derrystrabane.com/biodiversity