Paul Evans, Buglife pollinator advisor, said: “Although it is great to see more action being taken for pollinators, there is so much more that could be done. Local authorities need to be leading the way – both by demonstrating good practice in their parks and verge management, and by enthusing and helping their local communities to take action themselves.
“By developing a local pollinator action plan, local authorities can ensure that the needs of pollinators are considered across all their functions, and that positive action is embedded in their work into the longer-term.”
Dr Annabel King, Senior Ecologist at Dorset County Council said: “We are very proud to be one of the first local authorities to produce and implement a pollinator action plan. The plan is specifically aimed at helping all pollinators – including bees, butterflies and moths, numbers of which have declined severely in the last 50 years.
“The plan has enabled us to make significant savings. We save around £93k a year by only cutting rural road verges when needed, allowing wildflowers and grasses to flower and set seed.
“We also never use topsoil when creating new road verges anymore, as subsoil results in wildflower-rich grass, which is of greater use to pollinators and costs less to manage. On the Weymouth Relief Road, this method has resulted in management costs of £500 per year – as opposed to an estimated £2,700 if the verges had been spread with topsoil.”
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member for Environmental Services said that the council has a strict policy ensuring that weed control only takes place to prevent damage to infrastructure like drains carriageways, and it does not use insecticides during these routine functions.
He said: “It must also be recognised that for any strategy to truly be effective it must be a collective effort – and we play a key role in encouraging and supporting organisations and communities and neighbouring councils through the Devon Local Nature Partnership, and encourage the public to take action through our 'Keep Devon Buzzing' campaign.
“This has successfully encouraged communities and schools to create areas of wildflowers, build well-designed bug hotels and take other positive steps to conserve pollinators across Devon.”