A plan commissioned by Monmouthshire County Council to benefit bees, other pollinating insects and their habitats has picked up a much sought-after award.

 The Green Infrastructure Action Plan for Pollinators won the President’s Award at the Landscape Institute’s annual ceremony in London on Thursday 25th November.  The plan is the first of its kind and sets out how land owners can manage their property more effectively and work together to tackle the decline of bees and other pollinators.

 It was produced by Cardiff-based TACP landscape architects and project-managed by Mackley Davies Associates Ltd to create new habitats for pollinators on behalf of the local councils in Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire and Torfaen. The plan was one of a number of individual and collaborative projects that formed part of the Pollinators for Life project coordinated by Torfaen council, delivered by the four local councils and financed by the Welsh Government’s Nature Fund programme. Monmouthshire’s lead on the Green Infrastructure Action Plan for Pollinators was complemented by the development of its pollinator garden at Usk and inspired by its new green infrastructure policy approach to development and management.

The plan was praised in particular for the benefits brought by collaboration between neighbouring councils, social landlords, emergency services, schools, land owners and other community groups.  It outlines actions to encourage bees and other pollinating insects.  These include cutting grass to different heights at different times of the year and the development of wild flower meadows or formal planting areas.

 Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for bio-diversity and sustainability Councillor Phil Hobson said: “The plan will support and inspire landscape projects on public land to redress the decline in biodiversity and provide environments favouring pollinators.  It’s evident that bees and other pollinators are becoming less healthy and abundant and a lack of action will have serious implications for food production.”

 Lesley Griffiths, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs congratulated TACP Landscape Architects and all involved in the project: “The Green Infrastructure Action Plan for Pollinators in South East Wales will fit in with the Welsh Government’s new Bee Friendly initiative.  I’m proud that support from Welsh Government under the Nature Fund enabled local authorities and communities to help Wales take the lead in supporting pollinators.”

 Bob Wellington CBE, leader of Torfaen County Borough Council added: “We are delighted to be associated with this award in the world of landscape architecture this is as prestigious as it gets.  Pollinators are on the decline all over the world, and the Pollinators for Life project aims to increase biodiversity across the four counties and reconnect people with nature through the planting of wild flowers and trees.

 “This plan forms part of that project and can be used to help anyone responsible for managing land and open space to do it in a way that creates sustainable, healthy habitats for pollinating insects.”

 Director of TACP, Jo Wall commented: “We’ve been privileged to work alongside Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent councils in the development of the GI Action Plan for Pollinators.  The user-friendly outputs evolved to encourage active participation with the goal to increase planting for pollinators in all spaces from gardens and schools to public spaces.”