Essex Wildlife Trust has been working with the invertebrate conservation charity Buglife on their B-Lines initiative, identifying and developing wildflower-rich habitats across Essex as part of a national project to develop landscape scale networks for pollinators.
B-Lines is a landscape scale initiative to enhance declining pollinator populations by connecting up the best remaining wildflower-rich habitats through the creation or restoration of wildflower habitats. B-Lines was identified as a method to reverse pollinator declines in the National Pollinator Strategy's Implementation Plan, by aiding their movement across the fragmented landscape.
B-Lines are 3km corridors within which wildflower habitat restoration and creation can be focused and co-ordinated to maximise gains for pollinators. Habitat can be delivered by organisations, landowners, businesses, communities or individuals. Contribution to the B-Lines can be achieved through a variety of wildflower enhancement methods, such as habitat restoration (e.g. scrub clearance/re-introducing management/green haying), wildflower meadow creation in species poor grasslands, wildlife gardens, landowners entering agri-environment schemes, orchard planting, disturbance management and brownfield habitat creation, bee friendly formal planting, living roofs, etc.
Where relevant, planning applications in or around B-Lines should consider what they can contribute to the growing resources of pollinators in B-Lines. This will help to ensure that mitigation proposals align with ongoing work in the surrounding area for pollinators. It is important to note, however, that any planning applications should seek to protect and enhance the wildlife interests of all taxonomic groups and habitats, not pollinators and their requirements in isolation.
Buglife’s online B-Lines hub includes an interactive map where habitat work can be uploaded to collate information on wildflower enhancements across the UK, as well as specific pollinator advice.
Information on the B-Lines in Essex is available to data users in Essex as part of our data sharing agreement with Buglife. For more information please see our available datasets.
Buglife has published new pollinator guidance for local authorities in June 2017, see here for details.