William Eichler 18 July 2018

Councils could save thousands with ‘bee-friendly’ policies

Councils could save thousands with ‘bee-friendly’ policies image

Local authorities can save thousands of pounds by adopting ‘bee-friendly’ grass cutting plans, campaigners say.

Friends of the Earth and Buglife have urged councils to cut grassy areas less frequently in order to support bees.

They note that, as well as being beneficial for wildlife, this would save councils a lot of money.

Dorset County Council saves around £93,000 a year by only cutting rural road verges when needed, the campaigners found.

Burnley Borough Council estimates that it saves around £60,000 per annum from cutting back on grass-cutting to help pollinators.

Monmouthshire CC reports that their saving from a reduction in highway verge mowing is approximately £35,000 each year.

‘Councils have an important role to play in protecting our bees and other pollinators,’ said Friends of the Earth bee campaigner Nick Rau.

‘But although many local authorities are taking steps to help our under-threat bees, only a handful have so far introduced comprehensive action plans to protect them.

‘Measures such as allowing patches of grass to grow longer in parks and on road verges aren’t just good news for pollinators; they can save money for local councils too.’

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 £93,000 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.’

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