Kent’s Plan Bee pollinator action plan
Kent's Plan Bee is a pollinator action plan which has been developed by the council to take the lead and encourage local communities to improve the food sources and general habitat for pollinators in Kent. Pollinators such as bees, wasps, butterflies, moths and hoverflies are vital for our food, economy and environment and we must act to reverse their rapid decline.
The purpose of the plan is to:
- make the council a community leader in action for pollinators
- ensure that pollinators’ needs are always considered throughout our work and services
- put the conservation of pollinators and their habitats at the heart of our land management and planning
- make the council a significant contributor to the recovery of pollinator populations.
We also hope that the plan will help mobilise the people of Kent to do their bit for pollinators. Read about what you can do to help pollinators.
Action so far
We have made changes and implemented policies to improve and protect habitats for pollinators.
Changing the way highway verges are maintained
We have made changes to the months we cut grass verges and hedges and how we categorise the road verges to balance road safety with how we can provide benefits to bees, insects and birds. Go to our soft landscapes pages for details of what we look after and when.
Rural verge cutting
We have introduced a tiered approach to when we cut our verges depending on the potential biodiversity and value for pollinators of the verge, balanced against the need for highway safety.
We used to cut rural verges once a year during June and July. We now cut once in spring and once in autumn, to allow wildflowers to flower in summer to benefit pollinating bees and insects. We will also cut at different times to help provide a succession of wildflowers over many months, so pollinators have food plants to feed upon for longer and can use our road verges to move between habitats.
Urban verge cutting
We are focussing our efforts on verges with higher value biodiversity potential to produce better results in a shorter amount of time. Most of these roads tend to be in rural areas. For our urban verges we are looking at how we can effectively, easily and cheaply, improve biodiversity on a small number of large urban verges. We are:
- seeing how quickly nutrient rich verges can become successful low nutrient wildflower sites
- trying plug planting and seeding with customised mixes to help speed up the colonisation of wildflower species on some verges
- with developers, discussing and encouraging wildflower seed mixes or wildflower turfing instead of traditional grass seed and turfing.
We have moved our rural hedge cutting from autumn to winter months, so berries remain on hedgerows for longer for winter-feeding birds.
Most urban hedge cutting already takes place in autumn and winter. We identify the berry holding hedges, which we cut in summer, to see if we can delay cutting to the winter if this will still keep the roads and footpaths safe for users and clear of vegetation obstruction.