Redrow, a prestige housebuilder, is working together with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) to help tackle the UK’s declining bumblebee population. Redrow is taking part in a pilot project to create a bumblebee-specific pollinator-friendly habitat at one of its sites in Exeter, Devon. If the scheme is a success, similar projects will be implemented at different developments across the nation.
Rob Macdiarmid, Redrow’s Group sustainability director, said: “We greatly value our partnership with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and we’re looking forward to forging a long-term relationship that will enable us to create more and more bee-friendly habitats across the UK in a bid to boost bumblebee numbers.
“Our work at Saxon Brook in Pinhoe, Exeter, is the first project we’ve undertaken on this scale within a new development and it’s expected that the knowledge we gain will be shared across our technical departments in all 14 of our housing divisions to expand the scheme far and wide.”
Saxon Brook, on the eastern edge of Pinhoe, has been granted planning consent for the first three phases, which will comprise 165 brand new homes, with a further two phases to follow, subject to planning. A mix of two, three, four and five-bedroom homes will be available.
The BBCT will be working with Redrow’s landscaping contractors on how to best design and manage the site to ensure the benefits are felt longer-term, long after developments have been completed, for the benefit of new residents, the wider community and, of course, the bumblebee population.
Last year Redrow introduced eco-friendly habitats within the grounds of its UK headquarters in North Wales.
The BBCT’s vision is to ensure that the UK’s communities and countryside are rich in bumblebees and wildflowers and supporting a diverse range of wildlife. The organisation recently featured in the BBC Lifeline appeal which helped to shine a national spotlight on how vital bees are to our own survival because we rely on them for much of our food production and for flower pollination.
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, the BBCT has 9,500 members and has worked with over 400 farmers and landowners to create, restore or enhance over 3,000 hectares of flower-rich habitat for bumblebees. Over the next decade they aim to create a further 10,000 hectares of sustainable habitat for bumblebees and raise awareness about the importance of bees to encourage members of the public to take action.
Gill Perkins, CEO at BBCT, commented: “Bumblebees keep us healthy by pollinating our fruit and vegetables. It is vital we reverse their declines and we aim to make new housing developments with Redrow Homes bumblebee havens. Our partnership will lead the way in promoting pollinator friendly landscaping on housing developments.”
In the last 80 years bumblebee populations have declined dramatically. Two species have become nationally extinct and several others have seen their numbers plummet.
Photograph: Sinead Lynch of BBCT with Paul Burns and Anna Hughes, both members of Redrow’s Group Pathfinder team.