Funding secured for new pollinator pathways project

2016-08-09

Friends of Nidderdale AONB have secured £42,000 of funding from Biffa Award to provide new and improved pollinator habitat in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and at Otley Wetland Nature Reserve.

Working in partnership with local farmers, Nidderdale AONB staff and volunteers, Buglife, Otley Wetland Nature Reserve Trust and the Coronation Meadows team, The 'Friends' will use the Biffa Award funding to create a new ‘pollinator pathway’ to link fragments of habitat together along a 10km corridor and connect into Buglife’s B-Line network.  This flower rich pathway will support Harrogate District Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species of conservation concern.

Species rich lowland meadow was once a common habitat across Nidderdale AONB, but changes in farming practice have led to a severe decline in habitat area and a reduction in the diversity of surviving lowland meadow habitat.  Mapping of existing species rich grassland sites or restored sites allowed us to identify gaps in the network - where the links in the chain of grasslands need strengthening, to give invertebrates and other wildlife an opportunity to move around the countryside.  The two year project will restore 43.5 hectares of BAP lowland meadow at carefully selected locations using seed and hay collected from local donor sites wherever possible.

Heather Garnett, Chair of Friends of Nidderdale AONB, said, “There is national concern over the reduction in insect life and the consequential shortage of pollinators for cereals, orchards, vegetables, etc. As an environmental charity, 'Friends' is thrilled to be able to play a part in reversing the decline through this project. I would like to thank Biffa Award for making this possible.”

Kelly Harmar, Nidderdale AONB Biodiversity Project Officer, said, “Pollinators generally only travel short distances and the Biffa Award funding will allow us to create new pollinator habitat close to existing flower rich hay meadows.  It will also enable us to improve the quality of the surviving meadows and to build up a comprehensive seed bank for future grassland restoration”.

For more information on the project please contact Kelly Harmar on 01423 712950.