Policy for Pollinators

Building policy and legacy opportunities for pollinator management in the South West and beyond
Building on the success of the Managing Green Space project, this new stream of work will re-engage with the strong community of organisations in Devon and Cornwall interested in managing land in a way that provides multiple benefits.

Pollinators, such as bees, provide an essential ecosystem service responsible for maintaining a healthy environment, human population and economy, but this project also provides a way of engaging with land owners and managers to consider a wider range of natural capital benefits  – for example water quality and soil health.

Our Partners

The team have strong links with a wide range of Partners through the Managing Green Space project. During this time a huge opportunity was identified to scale the impacts of this work regionally and nationally to benefit bees and business.

The aims

Working closely with Partners and stakeholders, the team will work to achieve three core aims:

  1. Integrating natural capital-based tools for pollinator management into local, regional and national decision making. The team will pilot natural capital-based farm management planning with our partners who are creating new farm management plans across. The area this covers measures over ~38,000ha and includes Defra trails areas in Cornwall. We will scale this up through our network of estates, regional partners and nationally with Natural England by predicting the effects of different land management options on pollination rates and pollinator survival to make evidence-based decisions on the costs and benefits of these options.
  2. Creating new business opportunities for greenspace restoration. From our previous collaborative projects (eg Bee-Steward, Green Infrastructure for Growth -GI4G) we have identified a significant demand for local wildflower seed from farmers, businesses, and conservation and Government organisations. Yet, the wildflower seed used to date has been harvested ad hoc from a limited set of local donor sites or sourced nationally from commercial companies. This provides a business opportunity for the production of regional/local wildflower seed as a novel crop. Therefore, with our partners, we will scope for opportunities for local wildflower seed production, processing and distribution.
  3. Building capacity within the farming sector for grass-roots natural capital management. With the aim of empowering farmers to make natural capital-based land management decisions in preparation for a New Environmental Land Management Scheme (NELMS), we will create a business plan for a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme on natural capital stewardship and environmental leadership. We will work with our partners to evaluate the existing market for this idea, co-creating a plan through a series of workshops with partners and tenants designed to upskill farmers, safeguards jobs and create new opportunities within the sector.

Wildflower seed film

Produced in partnership with the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall, a documentary film short by Simon Vacher illustrates beautifully the innovative work undertaken at Heligan by SWEEP’s Policy for Pollinator’s team. The film highlights the plight of our declining pollinators and showcases the Heligan business model that is delivering for the environment, society and economy.

Watch the film >


Project Code: 022
Impact Summary
Project Lead:
Dr Grace Twiston-Davies
SWEEP Impact Fellow

Grace has been developing and applying innovative computer-based solutions to landscape scale problems. Grace is a member of Professor Juliet Osborne’s pollinator ecology research group who have created a set of cutting-edge computer models of bee behaviour, growth and survival at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute. Grace is working with partners in research, industry and the environment to apply these models to contemporary conservation and food security issues in Cornwall and the UK.

Professor Juliet Osborne
SWEEP Food Sector Lead

Project News

Project Events

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One of five sessions in the ‘Growing Back’ series exploring the nature of agriculture and food in the South West.