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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kenwood (Local Democracy Reporter)

Plan to get "Belfast buzzing" by restoring 15 hectares for pollinators

A Europe-wide organisation devoted to the protection of insects is hoping to get “Belfast Buzzing” by restoring 15 hectares of city parks for pollinators.

Buglife NI, the local branch of Europe’s only organisation devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates, has received permission from Belfast City Council for project work to occur on its public land throughout the city.

The council will manage these project sites for the next ten years, maintaining their biodiversity value, and will give a £5,000 funding contribution to Buglife for the project.

A Belfast council report states:

“Over the past year, Buglife have worked closely with several stakeholders including Belfast City Council, National Trust, Belfast Hills Partnership, Lagan Valley Regional Park and others to develop the Belfast’s Buzzing project with the shared goal of creating and restoring wildflower-rich habitats across Belfast.

“This two-year project will address the catastrophic decline in pollinating insects by significantly increasing the amount of connected wildflower-rich habitats across Belfast.

“The ‘Belfast’s Buzzing’ project aims to promote insect pollinators in parks and open spaces as well as inform, inspire and engage local communities in the recovery of nature within their local area.

“In partnership with Belfast City Council, and working with landowners, schools, community groups and other NGOs, the project will restore 15 hectares of publicly accessible sites for pollinators and inspire landowners to restore a further 5-10 hectares of their sites.

“Potential sites for habitat restoration, creation and enhancement works have been identified including some Council sites for some of our most threatened bee species. Belfast’s Buzzing will provide an interesting and fun opportunity for local people and communities to learn about the importance of pollinators and their habitats and to get involved in enhancing their local parks and open spaces.”

Habitat loss is a major driver of pollinator declines and Northern Ireland has lost 97 percent of its wildflower meadows in the last half century. More than half of bee species have suffered declines over the past 50 years with over 250 UK pollinators in danger of extinction.

Insect pollination is essential to food production, with one out of every three mouthfuls believed to be pollinated by insects. Wild bees pollinate between 85-95 percent of the UK’s insect pollinated crops, while honeybees pollinate between 5-15 percent. This free service is estimated to be worth £1.8 billion each year.


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