A new bus with the eye-catching logo of Kent’s Plan Bee, the county’s strategy to help pollinators, has just joined the fleet of Kent Thameside’s rapid transit service, FastTrack.
The double-decker, operated by Go Coaches, is promoting Kent County Council’s Plan Bee pollinator action plan as it runs between Dartford and Gravesend.
Pictures of the Shrill Carder Bee, England’s rarest bumblebee, adorn the back and sides of the bus. They have been chosen as a symbol for Fastrack because Thameside is part of only three small zones left in England where it is found.
One aim of KCC’s pollinator action plan is to bring KCC land under management that will benefit pollinating insects by creating and restoring sites and habitats where a diversity of pollinating insects can feed and shelter.
KCC’s Fastrack rapid transit service and the Plan Bee team are working to create a number of features throughout the Fastrack network between Dartford, Ebbsfleet and Gravesend that will help to boost the local populations of this rare wild bee and other pollinators.
Instalments include flower-rich road verges that are be seeded with wildflower mixes, and managed to support diverse mixes of flowers and grasses.
KCC’s Cabinet Member for the Highways and Transport, David Brazier, said: “The new Plan Bee bus creates a striking icon for Fastrack. The success of Fastrack is based on providing a high-quality, modern and environmentally friendly public transport system across this fast-developing area of Kent.
“The Plan Bee bus symbolises Fastrack’s commitment to achieving the highest standards for passengers and commuters, whilst respecting and enhancing the natural environment and wildlife of this area”.
KCC’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Susan Carey, said: “I really welcome this initiative which is improving the road verges and bus (buzz) stops for bees and other pollinators as well raising awareness of the Shrill carder bee and Kent’s Plan Bee. Other benefits are a more attractive environment and cleaner air for Kent’s residents.”
There are 10 pollinator road verges along Fastrack’s dedicated and shared bus routes in the Dartford area, with plans for more in Ebbsfleet and Gravesend as well as green roof bus shelters.
Kent’s Plan Bee is supported by other organisations and conservation charities including the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
Chief executive of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Gill Perkins, said: “We are delighted our logo and that of Kent Wildlife Trust appear on this high-profile Plan Bee bus.
“The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is working across England and Wales to deliver the Shrill carder bee recovery strategy to ensure a brighter future for this rare and declining wild pollinator.
“This joint work between Fastrack and Plan Bee is an important part of this national recovery strategy and the bus provides a focus for our conservation work.”
Kent’s Plan Bee visit : https://www.kent.gov.uk/environment-waste-and-planning/nature-and-biodiversity/pollinators/
Bumblebee Conservation Trust https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/about-us/
Kent Wildlife Trust https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/