Sunday, May 26, 2024

It’s Going to Start Buzzing in Our Cities

Photo: Mark Haddleton

Biffa Award, Buglife, Birmingham, Bristol… a lot of b’s which all add up to the Urban Buzz, an eight city project to create habitats for pollinators.

On the 23 November 2015 Buglife launched an ambitious new programme of activity that will work with local people in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Ipswich, Leeds, Leicester, Plymouth and York to design and deliver flower rich areas to benefit bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

The project will run over three years with each urban centre receiving 18 months of intensive support, thanks to a generous grant from Biffa Award of more than £1 million, along with sizeable contributions from other funders both nationally and locally.

Biffa Award is a multi-million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK, as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.

The first phase of the Urban Buzz – which was launched in Birmingham on 23 November – will see project officers consulting with the residents of Birmingham, Cardiff, Plymouth and York on the best places for pollinators and new flower-rich areas which will be created in order to enhance these cities. This initial work will be followed by intensive seed sowing and plug planting to create lush, vibrant flower-rich swards.

Vicky Kindemba, Buglife’s Urban Buzz Manager commented: “This project is the biggest scale urban based project for UK bees and will help create a template that can be repeated across the entire United Kingdom helping to secure a long term future for our vital pollinators.

“Today the urban environment provides one of the mainstays for our pollinators but the concreting over of garden and brown field space is putting increasing strains on species survival; the Urban Buzz will help redress the balance in favour of our pollinating friends who freely contribute £600 million per annum to the UK farming industry.”

Councillor Lisa Trickett, Cabinet member for Sustainability for Birmingham City Council, said: “I am delighted Birmingham is one of the pioneering cities involved in the Urban Buzz programme to demonstrate how simple changes to land management can help provide food and shelter for bees and other pollinators.

“We will be working with local communities and partners to develop two areas: the Urban Wellbeing Park in Erdington, linking Sutton Park National Nature Reserve with Spaghetti Junction, and the A38 corridor between Northfield and the city centre – to create significant stretches of wildflower meadows to encourage and support pollination.”

Gillian French, Head of Grants, Biffa Award said: “We’re really buzzing about this project to engage people with wildlife in urban areas. Pollinators are vital in any ecosystem and we’re really proud to be supporting this essential conservation work. The team at Buglife have grand plans, and we’re pleased that the Landfill Communities Fund can be used to help them achieve their ambitions.”

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