Herts County Council pledges to help save the bees

PUBLISHED: 12:03 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:03 27 March 2019

Hertfordshire County Council has passed a motion that recognises bees and other pollinators are in drastic decline. Picture: supplied

Hertfordshire County Council has passed a motion that recognises bees and other pollinators are in drastic decline. Picture: supplied

Barbara Gibson

Hertfordshire county councillors were abuzz after they unanimously backed a motion to help protect bees and other pollinators yesterday - much inspired by an eight-year-old's campaign poster.

Councillors were impressed when an eight-year-old girl from Welwyn Garden City designed a poster urging them to care for bees and pollinators. Picture: suppliedCouncillors were impressed when an eight-year-old girl from Welwyn Garden City designed a poster urging them to care for bees and pollinators. Picture: supplied

The motion was put forward at a full council meeting by St Albans Liberal Democrat John Hale, and backed by Lib Dem Barbara Gibson for Haldens, Welwyn Garden City.

It initially called on the council to increase pollinator-friendly habitats and also recommended the forming of a cross-party working group to create an action plan.

The motion also asked the council to recognise “the vital importance to Hertfordshire’s rural economy of pollinators and the fact that the county council is well placed to make a significant contribution to reversing their decline.”

The motion passed, with an amendment that said that the working group would remain within the Rural Estates Team rather than being cross-party.

This follows recent news of an ‘insect apocalypse’ as research shows populations of bees, butterflies, moths and other insects are in rapid decline worldwide, with many species in danger of extinction.

Among the many letters that councillors have received from concerned residents about the issue, they were particularly impressed by a poster designed and sent in by an eight-year-old girl from Welwyn Garden City.

Speaking in the debate, Cllr Hale said: “It is not just the farmland the council owns, but the land around County Hall and the verges along our roads.

“Pollinators play an important role in the environment ensuring plants can bear seed and acting as a food source for predators.

“There is much the council can and should do.”

Both councillors said they had been contacted by numerous concerned residents about the issue.

Cllr Gibson commented: “We do have some thriving nature reserve areas, and certainly a good deal of farmland.

“But they are not connected, and that is why insects are dying.

“Connectivity is the key, which is why road verges are perfect as they already link everything.”

She also urged joined-up thinking and, in future, going beyond just the Rural Estates Team.

“We are hopeful that in developing a Pollinator Action Plan, the Council does not limit itself to the confines of a single department or a rural-only focus,” she said.

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