Under ESB Group’s Policy on Environment and Sustainability, ESB has committed to operating its businesses responsibly, respectful of biodiversity and without harming eco-systems. ESB has signed up as a key partner to the 2021-2025 All Ireland Pollinator Plan as part of our support for biodiversity conservation.
One third of our 98 wild bee species are threatened with extinction from the island of Ireland. Organisations and corporate entities from various sectors, including ESB, are now working together to help Ireland's bees, other pollinating insects and wider biodiversity.
Human activity has drastically reduced the areas where wild bees and other insects can nest and obtain food. Restoration of biodiversity across farmed, natural, and urban landscapes is crucial for livelihoods and human well-being. Actions to protect pollinators helps restore biodiversity, resulting in multiple benefits for nature and people. For example, pollinators are important to plant populations that sequester carbon and protect against flooding. Some pollinators help control pest populations and recycle waste. Pollinators help the people of Ireland to enjoy healthy natural systems, promoting our mental and physical health.
Ireland was one of the first countries in Europe to act on pollinator declines in 2015, following the publication of its first All-Ireland Pollinator Plan. The Pollinator Plans focus on awareness of what pollinators need and the simple actions anyone can take to provide food, shelter, and safety. Free resources were developed for all sectors from farmers to councils, transport authorities, communities, businesses, schools, sports clubs, and gardens with all 81 actions contained in that first plan completed.
While a lot has been achieved over the last five years, the challenge is still very much alive. In March, the 2021-2025 plan was launched with more than 186 actions proposed with the aim of reversing the declines in our wild bee species and pollinators to protect our food supply, agriculture, and the environment.
What is ESB doing to contribute?
As a key partner of the new plan, ESB has committed to undertaking opportunities for more pollinator-friendly management of landscapes within its property portfolio, where this fits with the needs of safety, business operations and property management. Throughout 2021, ESB has been reviewing its landholdings including substations, generating stations, wind farms, offices and depots to identify parts of sites suitable for supporting pollinators, through actions such as changes in mowing regimes to creating new habitats on site.
ESB's input to the Pollinator Plan will be coordinated through ESB’s Ecology Team in its Engineering and Major Projects division. An internal cross-ESB group will screen proposals and check that recommendations agreed and implemented by business units are communicated. In addition, we are rolling out pollinator awareness and training workshops for our employees on topics like pollinator friendly gardens, recording pollinators, and general information on our progress with the Pollinator Plan.
A Plan built on Partnerships
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is voluntary. It was developed by a 16-member steering group who provide oversight, with implementation coordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre. Responsibility for delivering the 186 actions contained in this new Plan is shared out between 64 Key Partners – ESB will join a wide range of organisations including the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Heritage Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Bord Bía, Office of Public Works, GAA, An Taisce Green-Schools, Federation of Irish Beekeepers' Associations, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Teagasc and Tidy Towns, taking on specific actions aimed at delivering targeted results. The Plan does not have a project budget. Instead, those organisations who have committed to taking action agree to fund those actions themselves.
Want to know more?
The 2021 – 2025 All Ireland Pollinator Plan can be viewed here: https://pollinators.ie/news. For more information on ESB's Pollinator Actions contact ESB Senior Ecologist Geoff Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org.