Dorset County Council has agreed a plan to tackle the decline of pollinating insects, such bees and butterflies.
The county council’s Cabinet has approved a set of principles for delivering its services and managing its assets in ways that minimise harm to these important species and enhance their natural habitats.
Pollinators – which include bees, hoverflies, butterflies and moths – are essential as they help wild plants and commercial crops to grow. Their value to the UK economy has been estimated at more than £400m a year.
This is particularly important in Dorset, with its large farming sector and abundance of diverse and wildlife-rich landscapes.
However, pollinators are in decline. Threats to their survival include habitat loss and degradation, pests and diseases, climate change and the use of pesticides.
These include neonicotinoids, the most widely used insecticides in the world, which have been linked to the decline of pollinators.
The UK State of Nature Report in 2013 showed that more than half of the bee, butterfly and moth species studied had declined in the last 50 years.
The council’s action plan consists of a range of principles that will be adopted for all relevant projects, plans and decision-making processes, both now and in the future.
Actions cover highway verges and hedgerows, the council’s county farms estate and country parks and include stopping the use of on neonicotinoids and planting more pollinator-friendly plants.
Cllr Peter Finney, the council’s Cabinet member for the environment, highways and infrastructure, said:
“Pollinators are vitally important to our natural environment and our economy. In line with other public bodies, we are adopting positive principles for everything we do in our environment to help increase the numbers of bees, butterflies and other pollinators in Dorset.”