Decision Maker: Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee approved the Council’s Environment & Climate Emergency Policy in March 2021 since then officers have been putting arrangements in place and taking action, to progress the Policy’s objectives and commitments.
This report seeks the approval and endorsement of the Wirral Pollinator Strategy, which supports the Council’s biodiversity commitment within the policy, ‘Transforming our Open Spaces and Enhancing Biodiversity'. This strategy has been developed to raise awareness of the plight of pollinators and to ensure the Council and its local residents, businesses and landowners are provided with information to help us all protect and increase our pollinator populations.
Wirral Council is committed to helping to conserve the UK’s pollinators by ensuring the council considers the needs of pollinators in the delivery of its duties and activities. This strategy is designed to ensure the needs of pollinators are enshrined across the breadth of Council work and to increase awareness of pollinators across our local community.
On a motion by Councillor Liz Grey, seconded by Councillor Tony Smith it was –
Resolved (11:0) –That the Wirral Pollinator Strategy be approved, and officers and their partners, Wirral Wildlife, MEAS and New Ferry Butterfly Park be thanked for their hard work on this excellent report.
Reasons for the decision:
The Council recognises the importance of the natural environment and the role that it can play in tackling climate change. This Committee participated in the development of the Environment & Climate Emergency Policy and set the commitments the Council should make in response to the Council’s 2019 declaration of an environment and climate emergency. When approving the Environment and Climate Emergency Policy, Committee confirmed its commitment to Biodiversity.
Insect pollinator species have experienced national declines
· Half of our 27 bumblebee species are in decline
· Three of these bumblebee species have already gone extinct
· Two-thirds of our moths are in long term decline.
· Across Europe 38% of bee and hoverfly species are in decline
· 71% of our butterflies are in decline
· Some studies show that since 1970, flying insect biomass has reduced by possibly three-quarters, so we may only have a quarter as many flying insects as 50 years ago.
The most significant factors leading to the decline in pollinator numbers include: · Habitat loss – the loss and degradation of habitats which provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for pollinators. The loss of wildflower-rich grasslands is one of the most important issues. Over 3 million hectares of these habitats have been lost in England alone since the 1930s, the loss being attributed to more intensive farming and urban/industrial development.
· Pesticides – the use of pesticides is having harmful effects on pollinators including honeybees, wild bees, and butterflies. Wider effects throughout ecosystems are also of concern and pesticides have been implicated in other declines such as farmland birds and soil organisms.
· Climate Change – long term changes can deprive pollinators of food supplies at times when they need them, increase their exposure to parasites and diseases, or change habitats so that they are no longer suitable.
The Wirral Pollinator Strategy seeks to address the decline in pollinators and supports Wirral Councils commitment to addressing the Climate Emergency. In particular this strategy recognises the importance of the natural environment and biodiversity and seeks to deliver the Environment and Climate Emergency Policy Statement (2020) in particular in relation to ‘Biodiversity – Transforming our open spaces and enhancing biodiversity’. As such, if approved, the Wirral Pollinator Strategy will sit alongside the Tree, Hedgerow and Woodland Strategy (2020-2030) and the two together will seek to increase biodiversity locally.
The Wirral Pollinator Strategy sets out five broad aims that the Council and its partners will work together to deliver:
1. Ensure the needs of pollinators are represented in local plans, policy, and guidance for regeneration and economic development.
2. Protect, increase, and enhance the amount of pollinator habitat in Wirral to prevent extinctions and improve the status of any locally threatened species
3. Increase awareness of pollinators and their habitat needs across local residents, community and voluntary groups, businesses, and other landowners
4. Increase the contribution to pollinator conservation of all land under the ownership of, or managed by the Council
5. Improve our knowledge and understanding of pollinators in our local area
The Wirral Pollinator Strategy has been developed to raise awareness of the plight of pollinators and to ensure the Council and its local residents, businesses and landowners are provided with information to help us all protect and increase our pollinator populations. This strategy is designed to ensure the needs of pollinators are enshrined across the breadth of Council work and to increase awareness of pollinators across our local community
Alternative options considered:
This report introduces the Wirral Pollinator Strategy which is a part of the response to increasing biodiversity in the approved Environment & Climate Emergency Policy. The Council has declared an environment and climate emergency, recognising the urgent need for action to address and plan for the changes to the environment and climate. Therefore, the alternative of not making the necessary environment and biodiversity interventions would not address the Council’s declared emergency.
Report author: Matthew Humble
Publication date: 01/12/2022
Date of decision: 30/11/2022
Decided at meeting: 30/11/2022 - Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee
Effective from: 07/12/2022