Large areas of Worcestershire were blooming with wildflowers this summer and County Hall will soon be blossoming too.
Worcestershire County Council has been awarded just under £3,000 in European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant from the Natural Networks programme to create areas of wildflowers around its main site.
The funding will see large areas of wildflowers planted at various locations within the County Hall site.
To increase opportunities for wildlife and pollinators around County Hall and to show how the built environment can also benefit biodiversity, the funding will also see at least two bee posts and one bee brick installed to provide safe nesting sites for solitary bees and other pollinators.
Bees and pollinating insects aren’t the only wildlife to benefit from this funding, the project will also create a wildflower habitat which will also benefit a range of species visiting the site, including hedgehogs, birds and bats.
In 2015, Worcestershire County Council announced it would become a 'pollinator friendly county' to promote the protection of pollinating insects and their habitats. This new funding will bring this commitment to life at the Council's HQ site.
Declining numbers of all types of pollinators including bees and their habitats have been seen throughout the UK including Worcestershire. By making the commitment to be 'pollinator friendly', the County Council has been able to make a direct difference through the management of County Council owned land, including roadside verges.
In the UK, around 70 fruit, vegetable and cereal crops are insect pollinated. The economic value of honey bees and bumble bees alone as pollinators of commercially grown crops in the UK has been estimated at over £200 million per year. Pollinators are vital to our food supply and are particularly important in a county such as Worcestershire with a large agricultural and horticultural industry.
Councillor Tony Miller, Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Environment said: “It’s brilliant news that County Hall is to become another site in Worcestershire for wildflowers to bloom and highlight our county’s natural beauty. This funding will really support the Council's efforts to become a 'pollinator friendly' county, and will promote biodiversity on the Council's very own doorstep at County Hall. We are happy to lead the way in supporting pollinators in the County and encourage others to do what they can too."
Through the Natural Networks Programme, Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire Wildlife Trust are working with communities and landowners to conserve and restore Worcestershire's natural environment so that everyone can appreciate and enjoy our county's rich natural environment.
Natural Networks is a grant programme offering advice and funding to projects which aim to create and restore habitats for wildlife.
Grants are available between £2,000 and £200,000. Organisations can apply for a grant for up to 45% of projects costs.
To be eligible for the grant, the sites must have free and ongoing public access.
To find out more go to www.worcestershire.gov.uk/naturalnetworks or call 01905 843992 in office hours.