Overarching Pollinator Principles
6.1 The following section sets out a range of Overarching Pollinator Principles that will inform the design and delivery of protection, enhancement and connection of pollinator habitat within the 11 Settlements. The Overarching Pollinator Principles are supported by a set of Sub-Principles that apply to each Settlements. Clicking the subheadings of each Sub-Principle will expand further explanatory text.
6.2 The Pollinator Principles have been informed by the baseline review of pressures and threats towards pollinators, site visits and consultation with stakeholders.
Figure 6.1: Successful Habitats for Pollinators
1. Create nature networks
1a. Protect and enhance existing pollinator habitat
6.3 Pollinator abundance is usually highest in places where there are existing areas of wildflower-rich grassland, heathland, and woodlands where these are well connected for example by hedgerows or flower-rich margins. Protecting, and enhancing these existing sites so that they become bigger and better will help buffer them against adjacent land-use pressure and provide greater climate resilience.
1b. Create new pollinator habitat, particularly on embankments and slopes
6.4 More pollinator habitat is needed to create large and stable populations. Embankments and slopes are quick-wins for creation of new habitat as these areas are not in recreational use, less frequently mown and not formally landscaped. Yellow-rattle seed can help reduce grass growth and aid wildflowers establishment.
6.5 Surveying a potential site from March to October will help to understand site constraints and existing pollinator presence to ensure habitat creation is locally appropriate and targeted towards the needs of certain pollinators. The best place to create habitat for pollinators is often in a sheltered sunny spot.
1c. Strengthen connectivity through creation of corridor and stepping-stone habitat
6.6 Smaller patches of pollinator-friendly habitat, including hedges, road verges, ditches and banks help pollinators move across the landscape where there are few linear corridors. Maximising the function of smaller spaces in the urban realm is particularly important to increase the permeability for species movement. This may be by growing plants on a trellis or climbing frame, hanging basket or window boxes.
2. Increase diversity
2a. Choose native plants that are rich in nectar and pollen
6.7 Over the years pollinators have developed alongside native plants that are well adapted to the local growing season, climate, and soils. Many pollinators feed on specific plants because they prefer certain types of flowers.
6.8 Native plants can also reinforce local character and sense of place, for example the Tenby daffodil. In coastal towns, salt tolerant plants will be required. The Local Wildlife Trust or Meadows group may be able to provide seeds from a local source. The composition of the seed mix should be tailored to the soil type and location. For a large area, local green hay could be used as a seed source.
2b. Provide for more than just bees
6.9 There are a diverse range of pollinators that play an essential role in our ecosystems. As well as honeybees, bumble bees and solitary bees, pollinators include some wasps, butterflies, moths and hoverflies, and some beetles and flies. Providing the habitats and conditions required for a broader range of pollinators will create greater resilience in the provision of pollination services.
2c. Provide for pollinators throughout their lifecycle
6.10 Beyond pollen and nectar rich flowers available from March to late September, pollinators need habitats that help with other life stages, including places to shelter and raise their young. For example, dead seed heads and stems can provide shelter in winter. Earth banks, bare soil, gaps in walls, piles of stones and logs can provide nesting and hibernation sites. Nest sites should be created near flowers, bearing in mind the foraging range of some pollinators is limited to a few metres.
2d. Avoid using pesticides wherever possible and never spray open flowers
6.11 Pesticides kill useful insects as well as pests. Use should be particularly avoided on flowering plants where pollinators are present or near nests. Many pests, weeds and diseases can be controlled without using pesticides, such as weeding by hand instead of spraying. Educating local community on pesticides and herbicides for use in their own gardens will benefit pollinators.
3. Deliver wider benefits for people and wildlife
3a. Provide food and shelter for other taxa
6.12 Creating a diverse range of habitat types and structures can also benefit other species. For example, allowing vegetation to grow long provides food and shelter for birds, other invertebrates and reptiles. Considering the needs of other taxa when designing pollinator habitat can help supporting overall thriving biodiversity.
3b. Integrate pollinator-friendly habitat into wider green infrastructure
6.13 Pollinator friendly habitat can be retrofitted into existing development and/or designed into new development either as standalone habitat or integrated into other green infrastructure assets. For example, if designed and managed appropriately, grassland edges around SuDS can encourage pollinator-friendly species or water-tolerant wildflowers add to species diversity. Greater shrub planting in town centres can be combined with other measures such as barriers or traffic calming measures to pedestrianise streets and encourage active travel.
4. Raise awareness about the importance of pollinators
4a. Communicate perceived ‘messiness’
6.14 Wildflower meadows, verges and deadwood can often be perceived as unmanaged or overgrown. Information signs can help explain that an area is being managed for pollinators. Teaming up with local wildlife and environment groups and displaying additional information on plant and pollinator species that might be seen nearby can help residents and visitors to learn about the local biodiversity and establish a connection to their natural surroundings.
6.15 National and local campaigns, such as Welsh Government’s ‘It’s for Them’ campaign (Opens in new window) or EcoDewi’s ‘Mini Meadows’ project (Opens in new window) can increase recognition and understanding across Pembrokeshire.
4b. Consider ‘Bee Friendly’ accreditation
6.16 Bee Friendly accreditation provides access to advice and guidance from regional ‘Bee Friendly Champions’ and signposting to funding sources that could be used to implement pollinator-friendly actions and programmes.
6.17 Organisations and communities which are successful in their accreditation application will be able to use a Bee Friendly logo on their publicity to confirm that they are part of the scheme. See ‘Wider Initiatives’ for more information about the scheme.
4c. Create accessible routes to promote nature exploration
6.18 In parks and open spaces, small paths and circular routes can be cut through wildflower meadows which reflect ‘desire lines’ of park users. Introducing seats, benches and logs to sit on and take in the sights and sounds can help people connect with nature. Clearly marking walked routes in meadows and woodland areas can help leave areas that are undisturbed for nature.
5. Ensure long term management
5a. Engage with schools and community groups
6.19 Good relationships with local people are vital for positive results and a sense of local ownership. Working with community groups and/or schools is a key way to engage with and involve local people in the design and delivery of protection and creation of pollinator habitat, and to widen participation.
5b. Work with large landowners to implement pollinator management
6.20 Over 70% of UK land is farmed in some way, therefore how it is managed has a huge impact on pollinators and biodiversity. The changes in our countryside over recent decades, including a 97% [See reference ] loss of our wildflower meadows have meant that bees and other pollinators are increasingly reliant on flowering crops and the wildflower mixes planted by farmers.
6.21 Encouraging and educating landowners on creation of pollinator friendly habitat features and the use of effective alternatives [See reference ] to chemical pesticides and herbicides including encouraging natural predators and companion crops can all benefit pollinators.
5c. Carry out work at a suitable time in the year
6.22 Planting and management work needs to be carried out at suitable times of the year to ensure habitat establishment and to avoid disturbing or harming species. For example, bulbs and trees are best planted in the winter, whilst meadow seed is best sown in the autumn or spring. Hedge cutting should be avoided during the main breeding season for nesting birds, which usually runs throughout March to August each year. This can be weather dependent, and some birds may nest outside this period, so it is important to always check carefully for active nests prior to cutting.
5d. Cut and collect arisings
6.23 It is important to remove arisings from wildflower-rich grasslands to prevent soil enrichment, which favours coarse and competitive plants. This also keeps patches of bare ground accessible to ground-nesting bees. Where possible the arisings should be left in situ for a few days to allow seed to drop to the ground. Delaying cutting until the Autumn and removing vegetation until after the majority of plants have flowered helps extend the time food is available for pollinators. Alternatively, different areas could be cut from mid-July onwards changing which area is cut first each year.
5e. Control and remove invasive species
6.24 Invasive species create competition for space, light and resources to restore foraging and nesting habitats for pollinators. Due to their nature, invasive species are spread easily therefore removal of invasive species requires biosecurity measures to be put in place. It can be labour intensive and costly, although there is scope to include the community with removal. It is highly unlikely that many invasive species will be completely eradicated, often because it grows in inaccessible places, or where chemical and/or manual control is not an option.
6. Monitor progress
6a. Collect monitoring data and adjust management accordingly
6.25 Knowledge is key to people being able to take effective action to protect and sustain pollinator populations. A better understanding of population numbers and where actions are having an effect will enable improved design and implementation of conservation measures.
6b. Submit monitoring data to a national scheme
6.26 Contributing monitoring data to national schemes (such as those listed in ‘Wider Initiatives’) allows long-term changes in distributions to be tracked and helps support robust evidence-based policy and action. A study found [See reference ] the costs of running nationwide monitoring schemes are more than 70 times lower than the value of pollination services to the UK economy.
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