15 February 2020
By Elaine Murphy
The Midleton Pollinator plan was adopted by members of Cork County Council’s East Cork Municipal District on Monday 3rd of February. The plan builds on the work already carried out in Midleton and on the recommendations of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan to support biodiversity throughout East Cork.
One third of Irish bee species are threatened with extinction. This is due to a drastic reduction in the amount of food (flowers) and safe nesting sites in our landscapes. The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, managed by the National Biodiversity Data Centre, is about everyone, from farmers to local authorities, schools to gardeners and businesses, coming together to create an Ireland where pollinators can survive and thrive. Cork County Council plans to play a leading role in making the island of Ireland a place where pollinators can continue to flourish.
Last year, Cork County Council’s East Cork Municipal District successfully implemented actions of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan in public parks, open spaces, road verges and ornamental planting beds. Flower beds were planted with pollinator friendly perennials at The Rock and Coolbawn, spraying of pesticides was reduced and road verges in Midleton and Ballinacurra were left to flower into long flowering meadows.
A five acre area of frequently mown grass in Midleton Lodge Park was identified where the frequency of mowing could be altered, leaving it uncut until September each year to allow the existing seed bank of wild flowers to flourish. The meadow was deemed a great success in its first year and native wildflowers such as Self Heal, Knapweed, Yellow Rattle and Birdsfoot Trefoil flourished, as did the very rare Bee Orchid. On visiting the emerging Midleton meadow, as part of a training workshop for Council staff, Dr. Una Fitzpatrick of the National Biodiversity Data Centre commented “Midleton Lodge meadow is the best news story of the year for me”.
Schools, community groups and environmental groups already carry out great work in creating and maintaining attractive public areas throughout the East Cork and across the county. The Council’s community fund grants schemes will continue to be made available to successful applicants and these groups will be encouraged to implement the actions recommended in the All Ireland Pollinator Plan and to use the Midleton Pollinator plan as a template for their area.
Deputy Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Martin Coughlan welcomed the news, saying:
“It is great to see East Cork continue its pioneering commitment to pollinator friendly policies and ideas. Cork County Council’s East Cork Municipal District is leading the way in biodiversity initiatives and I look forward to the innovations that they have led being replicated throughout the county. Pollinators play a vital role in our ecosystems and we need to ensure that we support them in every way we can.”
Tim Lucey, Chief Executive of Cork County Council echoed the Deputy Mayors sentiments and added:
“The new Midleton Pollinator Plan reflects the commitment of Cork County Council to lead the way in the promotion and protection of biodiversity. We have seen the benefits of sustainable land management methods, which are simple, cost effective and good for the environment, in our flagship Midleton Lodge meadow. We look forward to working with communities to replicate and cultivate this success.”