Pollinators are an essential component of the Welsh environment. Honeybees and wild pollinators including bumblebees, solitary bees, parasitic wasps, hoverflies, butterflies and moths and some beetles are important pollinators across a wide range of crops and wild flowers and help improve the productivity of pasture systems for livestock grazing. Twenty percent of the UK cropped area contains crops which are dependent on pollinators and the value of pollinators to UK agriculture is over £690 million per year. The value of honey produced in Wales is also considerable with a wholesale value in excess of £2 million in 2011. In 2017, they were 3,366 beekeepers registered in Wales.
There has been growing concern regarding the population status of insect pollinators, and in turn the pollination service they provide. As with most other areas of biodiversity, the main threats to pollinators include habitat loss, environmental pollution, climate change and the spread of alien species.
The Welsh Government has worked with industry and stakeholders to look in more detail at the evidence and issues around pollinators and their conservation in Wales. Following consultation, in 2013, an ' Action Plan for Pollinators in Wales' was launched setting the strategic vision, outcomes and areas for action to halt and reverse pollinator decline in Wales. A Pollinator Task Force comprising of key stakeholders is now active.
In 2018, the Action Plan for Pollinators in Wales was updated by members of the Pollinator Task Force. The overall aim of the APP remains relevant however a review to update the actions was needed to reflect; the Bee Friendly initiative, the UK National Pollinator Monitoring Scheme, bee health policy which takes into account the risks from an Asian Hornet outbreak, the ongoing and new work by APP Task Force members and new requirements arising from the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016.
Bee Friendly is a brand new initiative aimed at communities and community organisations, schools, public bodies, town and community councils, businesses, universities and colleges, places of worship…….. and many other organisations, all around Wales.
We think it is the first co-ordinated national scheme of its kind and has at its heart – making Wales a Pollinator- Friendly country.
Although the scheme is called Bee Friendly, we want people to take action to help all our pollinators, and not just bees.
Defra has published a research report, to derive a National Pollinator and Pollination Monitoring Framework (NPPMF) to guide future implementation by a range of partners, building on existing citizen science activity.
The report sets out a range of scenarios for strengthening monitoring, including sample size requirements and field methods tested for ease, repeatability and acceptability to volunteers
COBWEB Project: A project to recruit citizen scientists from the 3000+ inhabitants of the Penparcau ward (Aberystwyth) to record observations of butterflies and their food resources (larval and adult) using innovative mobile phone and web technologies is due to start in the spring of 2015. Building upon earlier test developments within COBWEB this sub- project was co-designed with Penparcau Community Forum to help record the butterfly species in the area to inform local management plans and increase interest and understanding of the importance of butterflies (and other pollinators) to the health of Wales' natural environment. Data collected in the course of this sub-project will be shared with biological record organisations (National Biodiversity Network, Local Records Centres) to support dissemination and use for a variety of purposes from planning to environmental research and decision making. Data collected will be utilised by Welsh Government to assess the suitability of modelled large scale pollinator resource maps to inform a range of policy questions.
The project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund is helping schools across the UK to protect the future of our declining pollinator populations. For further information and to sign up visit the Polli:Nation website
Keep Wales Tidy - Natural Buzz Project
This project aims to maximise multiple ecosystem services of currently undervalued green sterile spaces – mowed areas on industrial estates, school and hospital grounds, business parks and roadside verges and transform them into a blaze of wild flowers.
Torfaen County Borough Council - Pollinators for Life Project
This ambitious and innovative project aims to undertake a range of initiatives to promote long term sustainable land management and to improve habitats and conditions for all pollinating species across the South Wales Valleys.
More information on the Nature Fund Projects and contact details can be found here
The Pollinators Taskforce brings together key stakeholders from the public, private and voluntary sectors to deliver the objectives of the Action Plan for Pollinators in Wales.
The Pollinators Taskforce held two roadside verge seminars recently to compliment the seminars held in the spring of 2014. The key aims of the seminars were to promote good management of roadside verges to benefit pollinators. Well-managed road verges have the potential to act as wildlife havens supporting pollinators and other invertebrates, wild flowers and grasses in addition to acting as 'wildlife corridors' for many other species including mammals and herpetofauna.