Councillors introduced to Pollinators along the Tweed: Pollinators, biodiversity and sustainable development go hand in hand

Published: 6th October 2023

SBC Councillors and partner organisations had an autumn meet, starting at Hay Lodge Park Peebles, to find out about the role and value of pollination and the importance of biodiversity in the Scottish

Scottish Borders Councillors along with partner organisations had an autumn meet, starting at Hay Lodge Park Peebles, to find out about the role and value of pollination and the importance of biodiversity in the Scottish Borders.

The introductory session ‘Pollinators along the Tweed’ was led by the Council’s Parks and Environmental Manager, Carol Cooke and supported by Dr Andrew Ramsey, Manager for Scotland and Northern Ireland for Buglife, Luke Fisher, Project Director for Destination Tweed and the Council’s Destination Tweed Project Manager, Greig Gibson. 

This visit gave Councillors the opportunity to see the practical implementation of the Pollinators along the Tweed project, a key project in the Council’s Climate Change Route Map under the ‘Nature Based solutions’ theme – a project in which the Council is a key partner. This project is closely linked to the Greenspace Management Review, which seeks to identify opportunities to increase biodiversity, support pollinators and reduce carbon emissions across the Council’s greenspace network, recognising the value of greenspace to local community resilience and wellbeing.

This visit focused on the work that had been carried out in the park and along the riverside, introducing wildflower meadows, with an explanation of what can be achieved through a change in management approach of parks and verges to benefit pollinating insects and bring community enjoyment. 

Dr Andrew Ramsey summarised that there has been a loss of 98 per cent of wildflower meadows since the Second World War. Without these spaces bees, butterflies and other pollinators, that are essential to the survival of the human race and ecosystem, will be lost.

He illustrated this by quoting Sir David Attenborough; ‘If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world’s ecosystems would collapse.’

Dr Ramsey further explained: “With the loss of wildflowers we lose the invertebrate species that depend on those flowers, which are crucial to every aspect of our life and livelihoods – insects pollinate, they drive the pollination of our crops.”

Buglife, the delivery partner for the Pollinators Along the Tweed project, has identified important invertebrate areas across the UK and are developing B-Lines, superhighways for invertebrates across Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The aim of this particular project is to develop 50 sites of pollinator supporting habitats such as meadows, orchards and grasslands, to act as stepping stones or fueling stations to enable pollinators to move along the Tweed.

Luke Fisher introduced the Destination Tweed project, the centrepiece of which is the creation of a 113-mile trail which will celebrate and share the nature, history and stories of the River Tweed – and the wild environments along its route. Greig Gibson, also gave an outline of the planned delivery and community engagement the project encompasses, including the Pollinators Along the Tweed Project.

Councillor Jenny Linehan, Executive Member for Environment and Transport:

“We are in the middle of both a climate and nature emergency with the two being inextricably linked. It is great to see local projects here in the Scottish Borders enhancing our valuable natural environment. 

“Making small and subtle changes to how we manage green spaces can make big differences to nature and the environment.  It’s also important to note the benefits of the natural world on our mental wellbeing and the joy that wildflower meadows, buzzing with insect activity, can bring.” 

Anyone wishing to participate in creating B-Lines should contact Buglife via their website. 

For more information on the Council’s Climate Change route Map visit Net Zero and Climate Change.