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Hastings works with Groundwork South to boost bee population in Sussex

Groundwork South in partnership with Hastings Borough Council has received funding from Natural England’s The Species Recovery Programme Grant to help native bees by providing extra food sources and nesting habitats around Hastings.

Wildflower areas will be created at spaces across the town, including Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve, West Hill, Summerfields and Hastings Museum & Art Gallery. There will also be other habitat improvements taking place, such as hedgerow planting, woodland edge scalloping and the creation of bare earth scrapes and bee banks, ideal for mining bees which nest in the ground.

Several bee surveys will take place over the summer months to monitor the impact of the wildflower areas and to see which bee species are using them.

£14.5m funding to help bees

63 projects across the county have been awarded grants by Natural England totalling £14.5m. These projects will benefit species which often have specialist life cycle requirements and will contribute to the government’s goals of reducing the risk of species extinction by 2042 and increasing species abundance by 2030. While helping to put in place a Nature Recovery Network across England where wildlife can recover, move freely and thrive.

Shelley Pletsch from Groundwork South, said: “Funding for enhancing and creating foraging habitats for pollinators around Hastings is a wonderful opportunity not only to support nature but also to upskill and involve our community which is at the core of all of our projects. The wildflower swathes will look beautiful as well as be beneficial.”

Cllr Glenn Haffenden, lead councillor for natural environment at Hastings Borough Council, added: “Sadly, many native bee species are threatened and in serious decline, that’s why this recovery action is so important. Bees are an integral part of our ecosystem and many of the UK’s arable crops benefit from bee pollination. Without them, the food chain would be seriously impacted.

“This project will create specialised habitats appropriate to each of the identified bee species, this includes improving the diversity of wildflower meadows, woodland edge habitat, restoring and planting new hedgerows and making improvements to grassland to increase their opportunity for foraging.”

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