MSP backs project to help the bees

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An MSP is backing work to create more flower rich habitats for insects to spread and thrive in the South of Scotland.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust has been given the strong backing of MSP Claudia Beamish following a visit to Gailes Marsh reserve in Irvine to see some of the work the Trust are carrying out.

The plan aims to create a network of ‘flower-rich’ areas on the coastline between Irvine and Girvan to help pollinating insects thrive.

The newly reappointed Shadow Minister for Environmental Justice spent the morning with Gill Smart, Reserves Manager, for the Scottish Wildlife Trust as well as John McTague, Policy Officer for the Trust.

Claudia Beamish said: “The work which the Scottish Wildlife Trust is carrying out along the Ayrshire coast is very important and is also very exciting. I was delighted to be able to see the extent of the network which is being developed. It is really important that creatures have a network of regular flower rich habitats which they can use to pollinate. There is so much involvement with members of the local community and it is really encouraging that local companies especially are involved by providing financial support as well.

“The Girvan to Irvine Nectar Network is therefore something I would like to see expanded in the South of Scotland. It is not just on the coastline where networks are needed. So too inland where people’s gardens can play an invaluable role in helping pollinating insects to thrive. ”

Gill Smart, Reserves manager for South West Scotland said “This reserve is part of a partnership project that aims to establish an interconnected network of flower-rich habitats within which pollinating insects can spread and thrive. Gailes Marsh is a real hotspot for bees and butterflies but they can’t survive in isolation. They need to be able to move across the landscape. Our neighbours, particularly the golf courses, recognise this and have been quick to take positive action for pollinators on their own land. ”

The newsletter of the wildlife trust reports: “It is said that 80% of our crops are insect pollinated and it is a similar picture for our wild flowers. The loss of these insects would be a disaster for mankind and for all our biodiversity. 

“SWT in Ayrshire is taking action as part of a project being led by Dundonald Links Golf Course in Irvine.  The idea is that you can help boost pollinator numbers by providing lots of feeding opportunities and nesting sites for them.  In addition, making sure flower-rich sites are well connected allows pollinators to move away from temporarily inhospitable conditions, survive and recolonise when things improve. 

“The Irvine to Girvan Nectar Network is sowing areas of wildflowers in connected areas of land between the two towns.  SWT’s part in this is to survey some of the ground within the network and advise on what is required to establish the wild flowers.  It is also important to know whether the concept is working, so before and after surveys of butterflies and bumblebees would be useful.  If you are interested in carrying out this pleasant task, the contact details are gsmart@scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk or 01294 279376.