Food for thought: How to protect Southend’s pollinators?

Published Tuesday, 19th July 2016

Photo of pollinator-friendly flower bed in Southchurch Park

Avid local gardeners, environmentalists and nature lovers are being urged to help shape a local plan to protect the unsung heroes of the food supply chain: pollinators.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is consulting the public and special interest groups over its “Pollinator Strategy” – a plan of actions which seeks to protect and promote the habitats of pollinators, such as bees and hoverflies, which are vital to future food supplies.

In recent years the plight of bees across the world has been covered by the media.

However, since many plants rely on other insects, such as hoverflies to transfer pollen from one flower to another in order to set fruits and seeds, it is important to consider all pollinators.

Without pollinating insects not only would the environment be a much drabber place, food production and the economy would also be seriously damaged.

Almost any insect that visits flowers can carry out pollination: over 1,500 insect species in the UK alone are thought to pollinate.

Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and the Economy, Cllr Ann Holland said: “There are so many plants across the town, in fields, parks, gardens and natural open spaces that we often take for granted.

“However, they could not flourish without their pollen being spread by bees and hundreds of species of other insects – hoverflies, wasps, moths, beetles and butterflies.

“There is evidence that their populations are less healthy and abundant than they have been in the past. If action is not taken, their decline will have serious implications for food production, ornamental gardens and the countryside.

“We’ve put together our own local pollination strategy to ensure our Borough is playing a full and active role in countering this worrying trend. We want our strategy to be as robust as possible, which is why we’re now inviting local people to comment on it and shape the final strategy that we put into action.”

To find out more and help shape the Council’s Pollinator Strategy, please visit: www.southend.gov.uk/pollinatorconsultation