An ambitious new plan for helping our bees, butterflies, hoverflies and other pollinating insects is being launched by Buglife and Avon Wildlife Trust at today's West of England Nature Partnership conference.
The West of England B-Lines project will create rivers of wildflowers across the countryside connecting the region’s best wildlife sites from the Cotswolds to the Mendips, from the coast to the hills, and from our towns and cities to the countryside.
The new B-Lines map shows the proposed routes and invites farmers, landowners and the public to get involved to put the buzz back into our countryside.
Clare Dinham, Buglife Conservation Officer, said “Bees and other pollinators are disappearing from our countryside because of a lack of wildflower-rich habitats. Three million hectares, 97%, of the UK's wildflower-rich grasslands have been lost since the 1930s. By creating B-Lines we can help wildlife move across our countryside, saving threatened species and making sure that there are plenty of pollinators out there to help us grow crops.”
Thanks to funding from Cory Environmental Trust in Britain, Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust, Natural England, D’Oyly Carte Foundation Trust, South Gloucestershire Council, Bristol City Council and Wessex Water the B-Lines project will work directly with landowners, provide advice and training and create and restore meadows and wildflower-rich grasslands along the B-Lines routes. This first stage of the B-Lines project will restore and create 20 hectares of wildflower-rich grassland for the benefit of wildlife and people.
Janice Gardiner, Conservation Programmes Manager at Avon Wildlife Trust said, “This exciting new B-Lines map illustrates our vision for wildflower-rich grassland across the West of England and shows the huge opportunity we have to make a difference for pollinators. We are already carrying out restoration but we urgently need more sites. If you have land which you are interested in restoring to wildflower-rich grassland, or if you would like to volunteer for the project, please get in touch – we'd love to hear from you."
Angela Haymonds, Secretary for Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust (ICET) and Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB), said: “The trusts have provided £75,000 support to this worthwhile innovative project. B-lines creates synergy between the commerce of crop growing and ensuring biodiversity. B-lines provide the motorway network for bees to thrive, survive and travel across the countryside bringing a range of benefits in their path. We hope landowners provide the support to this project that is needed to enhance both the countryside and commercial agriculture.”
For further information on the West of England B-Lines Initiative, including an interactive B-Lines map where you can view the routes and add your contribution to the B-Lines network, click here