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Let’s Get Bristol Buzzing

Pollinating flowers by the M32

Teija Ahjokoski

6 March 2017

A new report has recently been published highlighting a range of pollinator-friendly actions undertaken across the Greater Bristol area to address the aims of the Greater Bristol Pollinator Strategy. The Strategy is part of the Get Bristol Buzzing campaign which aims to improve urban habitats for pollinators.

The UK’s native wild pollinators are important for both wild flowers and crop pollination, performing vital pollination services of agricultural crops. The National Pollinator Strategy was launched by Defra in 2014 to tackle the decline of Britain’s wild pollinators (including bumblebees, solitary bees, moths and hoverflies). Insect pollinators are under threat from multiple pressures including loss of habitat, intensification of farming, pesticides and disease. 

The Greater Bristol Pollinator Strategy was created to promote aspects of the National Pollinator Strategy relevant to urban areas and public land to businesses, the public and local authorities. This regional campaign is linked together by the Get Bristol Buzzing initiative, and the actions are implemented by the Steering Group.

The Steering Group members are Avon Wildlife Trust, BeeBristol, Bristol City Council, Bristol Friends of the Earth, Buglife, South Gloucestershire Council, University of Bristol and the University of West England.

This unique collaboration of councils, environmental groups and universities working in partnership with community groups and individuals, enables action for pollinators across the entire city. Get Bristol Buzzing creates a joined-up approach between projects and organisations working to conserve pollinators. One example of Get Bristol Buzzing uniting different projects and organisations has been a city-wide initiative to transform public land into urban pollinator habitat.

In 2015 and 2016, the Avon Wildlife Trust carried out a number of urban wildlife projects which included planting for pollinators, as part of the My Wild City project supported through European Green Capital funding. The My Wild Cathedral initiative, which created pollinator habitat strips in the city centre outside Bristol Cathedral on College Green, scooped a Bees’ Needs award from Defra in 2016.

Also in 2016, University of Bristol students initiated and implemented a project which has created 30 square metres of pollinator haven in an area that was previously barren concrete. This project will continue in 2017.

Meadow Bristol, a project launched by Bristol City Council in 2011, creates and maintains pollinator-friendly habitats across the Greater Bristol area. An impressive 12,000 square metres of these annual and perennial meadows were created or maintained by the council in 2016 in addition to nearly 3000 square metres of land that was enhanced for wildlife by adding native plug plants.

These projects, and many others, are part of the Get Bristol Buzzing campaign and fulfil the Greater Bristol Pollinator Strategy Aims and Actions. Matt Collis of Avon Wildlife Trust commented on the benefits of this joined-up approach:

‘By linking gardens, passageways, parks and other green spaces we can create wildlife corridors or ‘green highways’ so wildlife can move easily around the city.’

Dr. Katherine Baldock of the University of Bristol and one of the authors of the report, emphasised the importance of everybody contributing to make Bristol more pollinator-friendly:

‘If everyone plays a part and creates a little bit of habitat for bees and other pollinating insects in their own gardens, allotments or window boxes we could really make a difference.’

Further information

Read the report.

Join the Facebook group.

See the website for Get Bristol Buzzing, including their ‘5 simple actions’ leaflet. 

To find out more about how to help, a key resource of Get Bristol Buzzing is their A5 leaflet titled ‘5 simple actions to help pollinating insects.’

This leaflet is available as an online resource on the Get Bristol Buzzing website. It encourages everyone to take these five simple steps to create more pollinator-friendly cities in Bristol and beyond.