Leeds will soon be buzzing!

Friday 15th September 2017

Urban Buzz is creating habitat for pollinators across eight UK cities.  This ambitious Buglife project is working with local people in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Ipswich, Leeds, Leicester, Plymouth, and York. Residents of these cities are contributing to the design and creation of flower rich areas to benefit bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

Thanks to support from National Lottery players, work in Leeds will begin in September, led by Buglife’s Urban Buzz Officer Andrew Cutts.  The project is running over three and a half years with each urban centre receiving 21 months of intensive support thanks to a generous grant of over £1 million from Biffa Award. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Postcode Lottery, and Garfield Weston Foundation have also contributed along with support from Leeds City Council.

Gillian French, Head of Grants, Biffa Award said “We’re really buzzing about this project to engage people with wildlife in urban areas. Pollinators are vital in any ecosystem and we’re really proud to be supporting this essential conservation work. The team at Buglife have grand plans, and we’re pleased that the Landfill Communities Fund can be used to help them achieve their ambitions.”

Following on from the highly successful first phase of Urban Buzz in Birmingham, Cardiff, Plymouth and York, we hope for even better things in Leeds, Leicester, Bristol, and Ipswich. Andrew Cutts and his fellow project officers will be consulting with local residents on the best places to create new flower rich areas in order to enhance the cities and improve pollinator habitat. This initial work will be followed by intensive seed sowing and planting to create lush, vibrant flower rich swards.

Andrew Cutts commented “This project is the largest scale urban based project in the UK for bees. Success in Leeds and other cities will help create a template that can be repeated across the entire country helping to secure a long term future for our vital pollinators. Today, the urban environment provides one of the mainstays for our pollinators but increased loss of garden and brownfield habitats is putting pressure on species survival. Urban Buzz will help redress the balance in favour of our pollinating friends who play a crucial role in pollinating many of our food crops as well as the beautiful flowers we enjoy.”

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Environment and Sustainability said “I am really excited about this project. Like many people, I am aware of the loss of habitat suffered by pollinating insects and the harmful effect this is having on our populations of bees, butterflies and moths. Urban Buzz will provide us with a fantastic opportunity to work with local people to create new areas of wildflowers and meadows within our urban areas. Not only will this help ‘pollinators’, we can all enjoy the vibrant colours that these new habitats will provide. ”

David Renwick, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said “Urban Buzz will establish Leeds as a flagship ‘buzzing city’, providing essential habitats for the unsung heroes who pollinate our crops, flowers and gardens. The project will reconnect people with nature, demonstrate the benefits we can gain from getting involved with wildlife and create a sense of local pride and ownership in our urban green spaces. We are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to support this vital initiative and I look forward to seeing the results in and around Leeds.”

Urban Buzz Leeds will be officially launched on Monday 25th September at Farnley Hall Park, Leeds. The event will begin at midday and finish at 3pm. Andrew will introduce the project highlighting the importance, diversity, and beauty of insect pollinators. He will also show how local people are pivotal to the project being a success. After presentations indoors we will walk the grounds of the park and discuss how we can create quality habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.

Urban Buzz Leeds will work with interested parties, organisations, landowners and volunteers; any organisation or individual who wishes to be involved is invited to get in touch. If you would like to attend the launch event or have any questions please contact Andrew on [email protected] or 07464 828 626.