Following successful grassland management pilots to improve biodiversity across the Gwent local authorities, this year the Nature Isn’t Neat approach to management is being coordinated to cover wider areas across Gwent, with the mission of making it ‘pollinator friendly’ by allowing more wildflowers to grow in our green spaces.
The project which is to be delivered as part of the Gwent Green Grid Partnership, will engage with local communities across South-East Wales, raising awareness of pollinator decline and encouraging community ownership and empowerment to deliver actions that will help them recover.
Nature Isn’t Neat will establish a joined-up approach to the management of green spaces, also known as Green Infrastructure (GI), to create wildflower-rich pollinator habitats across 5 local authority areas (Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen) An operative’s Code of Action and training programme will be delivered, supporting effective pollinator management within the region.
The project will also contribute to the development of Pollinator Policies for local authorities and other relevant organisations to secure wide scale land enhancement for pollinators, creating resilient ecological networks.
Activities and events are planned for 2022 to promote wildflower and pollinator management, so look out for further updates on the website or follow on Twitter @Natureisntneat and @Gwentgreengrid for all the latest news.
Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet member for Climate Emergency, Cllr. Jane Pratt said: “This new year we are delighted to be able to build upon the progress made within each of the local authorities to enhance grassland biodiversity, including Nature Isn’t Neat across Monmouthshire. Pollinators are a vital part of ecosystems; most plants need pollen from another flower to complete their lifecycle and produce fruits and seeds.
Bees, butterflies and many more insects perform this free service, pollinating 88% of wild plants and 75% of global crop species. However, pollinators are in trouble. Since the 1980s, half of all pollinator species have become less widespread, and populations of bees and hoverflies have declined by 30%. While progress has been made, thanks to changes such as our selective mowing policy, there’s still work to be done and this year offers many fantastic opportunities to make a difference.”
Gwent has many species of pollinators which are at risk, including the nationally rare Shrill Carder Bee, which has one of its strongholds on the Gwent Levels.
Changes to help keep flowering species alive for longer, not only provide food and habitats for the pollinators and other species, but also increase
s water absorption, provide s Carbon sequestration, and improve s the health of the soil. Research suggests that creating environments which support a wider range of wildlife, benefits people’s health and mental wellbeing, while encouraging them to slow down and enjoy watching flowers, insects and other wildlife.
Councillor Lisa Dymock, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for Green Infrastructure said: “We are excited about the coordination of the Nature isn’t Neat approach through the Gwent Green Grid Partnership, as this strategy is crucial in response to the decline in biodiversity and challenges of climate change. Using the Nature isn’t Neat approach, the project aims to improve prospects for wildlife, providing crucial stepping stones for species to move between good habitat areas at a regional level.”
This project is part of a series of programmes to be delivered under the Gwent Green Grid Partnership Project, which is supported by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe Investing in Rural Areas and is funded by the Welsh Government’s Enabling of Natural Resources and Well-being Grant.
Find out more about the Gwent Green Grid at: www.monlife.co.uk/outdoor/green-infrastructure/green-infrastructure-partnerships-projects/gwent-green-grid-partnership/