We all have an important role to play in supporting pollinators. It is only through the actions of everyone that we can help pollinators thrive across our countryside and urban environment. Through these actions we can help ensure that this generation will be the first to leave the environment in a better place than we found it.
We are developing an ambitious 25 year plan for the environment. This will provide the long-term direction for protecting and enhancing our environment in an integrated way. Providing support to the 1500 species of insect pollinators plays an essential role in helping our environment and contributing to food production. I want to ensure that we produce more food locally and support our farmers to do so. Pollinators play an essential role in ensuring we have a wide range of food to eat. Very little of what we eat has not involved a pollinator.
We have come a long way over the last two years since the National Pollinator Strategy was first launched. Rebuilding the strength of our pollinators is a subject close to my heart. Since my childhood just outside Falmouth, I have been fascinated by bees, butterflies, moths and insects and was training as a beekeeper until I was elected as your local MP. I used my position in Parliament to work with colleagues, Buglife and Friends of the Earth to campaign successfully for the National Pollinator Strategy. The strategy is all about partnership working. Much progress has been made in implementing the comprehensive strategy but more needs to be done.
Cornwall Council is a large land owner and has huge influence over our natural environment through its planning policies and stewardship of public amenities such as road sides. Government Departments, like the Ministry of Defence, have significant land holdings in Cornwall too. In addition to farmers, many local people are keen gardeners and local schools are doing excellent work from creating gardens to growing vegetables. Falmouth town and local parish councils are increasingly responsible for our local parks and gardens. Each public body, farmer or gardener has a role to play in growing year round flowering plants that create the food for our pollinators. I am delighted that Falmouth town council will be working with UrbanBuzz to enable more habitat creation for pollinators.
The UK continues to lead support for pollinators in the international arena, in particular, welcoming the recent UN led IPBES assessment on pollinators. At the 13th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD CoP13) in Cancun, Mexico, December 2016, 13 countries signed a declaration indicating their willingness to take action nationally and internationally on pollinators. The signatories are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Peru, Slovenia, Spain, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Uruguay. Of these, only the UK and France already have National Pollinator Strategies but 11 countries are interested or actively developing national pollinator strategies. It’s essential that we work together and learn from each other, thinking globally and acting locally.
First published in the Falmouth Wave on 30/06/18.