Wicklow County Council members have voted to sign up as partners to the All Ireland Pollinator Plan which aims to save the country’s bee and other species.
The aim of the Plan is to make Ireland more pollinator friendly and councils are being asked to take actions to combat the worrying decline in pollinator species in recent years. Councillors heard that in Ireland pollination is primarily carried out by our wild bees of which we have 99 species (1 honeybee, 21 bumble bee and 77 solitary bees).
Despite the fact that pollination is essential for food and crop production, overall the populations of pollinators are suffering and have declined by 30 per cent since 1980. The main causes of pollinator decline are loss of habitat, loss of food sources, use of pesticides, climate change and disease.
Dr Úna FitzPatrick, All-Ireland Pollinator Plan founder and Project Coordinator, said “This is such an exciting step. We have witnessed so much positive action by individuals and local communities around the country, and so many councils have made changes to the way they manage their parks and public lands – to make them more pollinator-friendly. We are thrilled that Wicklow have become a Council partner to the plan”. By signing up as partners to the Plan, Wicklow County Council has committed to endorsing a pollinator friendly ethos in all plans and strategies; to altering the frequency of mowing in selected open spaces, parks and verges in order to provide food and nesting habitats , and to promoting the planting of native and pollinator friendly species.
Wicklow County Council Chief Executive, Mr Frank Curran, stated that Wicklow has a well-earned reputation as the “Garden of Ireland” adding that the Council is committed to promoting a pollinator friendly landscape that will in turn contribute greatly to our health, wealth and quality of life.
The Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Irene Winters, welcomed the initiative stating that “many Tidy Towns and other community groups are already incorporating pollinator friendly actions into their activities, so this was a great way to support their good work”.
Cllr Jennifer Whitmore, Chair of Wicklow’s Climate & Biodiversity Action Strategic Policy Committee, said that by signing up as an official Pollinator Partner, Wicklow County Council was taking practical action to improve our biodiversity on the ground, and this was good news for Wicklow. With current challenges to the natural world, including Climate Change, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan offers local authorities a way of conserving the free ecosystem services provided by pollinating insects