Pollinator strategy

Pollinator key actions and work to date

Key actions

We are looking to take the following actions to improve conditions in North Northamptonshire Council’s parks, open spaces and highway verges.

Increase forage resources for pollinator species

  • Leave more long grass or meadow areas in less formal parts of the parks and open spaces to allow flowers to bloom and seed. Prioritising areas that connect to each other and to existing wildlife habitats and corridors. Where practical we will work to improve the floral diversity of these areas and reduce the dominance of coarser grasses
  • As part of our ‘Pardon the Weeds’ campaign we will allow suitable verges to flower and become rich in early sources of pollen from March through to June.
  • Plant at least 1 tree for every one we remove
  • Plant and encourage a native understorey of flowering plants, such as hawthorn, blackthorn and honeysuckle, particularly in woodland and marginal areas.

Improve habitats for nesting and overwintering pollinators

  • Keep some areas of long grass throughout the winter as a refuge for insects - cutting on a 3-year rotation to ensure that the areas do not become rank and lose floral diversity
  • Acknowledge the importance of bare ground areas for ground-nesting species. Ensure that not all paths and desire lines are hard surfaced or re-turfed, as these are important nesting areas
  • Leave patches of nettles and other larval food plants for breeding butterflies and moths
  • Avoid planting new specimens of tree species which can be damaging to bumblebee species, such as Tilia petiolaris
  • Where practical, support projects that create bee ‘hotels’ to encourage mining and leafcutter bees to nest
  • Ensure suitable bio-security measures for new planting if plants are being imported.

Reduce pesticide use

Wherever practicable, aim to reduce the use of pesticides and ensure that where any treatment application is required, that it is minimised by sensitive application techniques, such as spot spraying, using the most up to date technologies and products.

Participate in pollinator projects and action

  • Engage with stakeholders in areas where significant change is likely, such as through our ‘Pardon the weeds, we are feeding the bees’ signage, etc
  • Support or deliver projects aimed at increasing the diversity and abundance of pollinating insects, where practical
  • Aim to involve people in improving their environment, such as through volunteering in parks etc
  • Include learning about pollinators in our Education Ranger led Outdoor Learning activity programmes with schools and groups.

Work to date

Pardon the weeds campaign
Pardon the weeds campaign

The council’s country parks, woodlands and nature reserves have a long history of managing habitats to improve wildlife. Much of this is achieved through volunteer work programmes supported by the park and woodland Rangers. These parks contain some very valuable wildlife habitats and are the home to nationally scarce species, such as Black Hairstreak and Purple Emperor Butterflies at Fermyn Woods Country Park.

More recently, valuable work on improving pollinator habitats in urban areas has been trialled in the Kettering and Corby areas, including the use of ‘feed the bees’ information signage in verges and parks, to help people understand why their local landscape is changing. This work has been well received and demonstrated the potential for further improvements to our urban greenspaces.

Last updated 18 October 2022