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Council announces action to help bugs and bees

June 30, 2020 11:00 AM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Help for bugs and beesMayor Dave Hodgson has announced measures which will see the planting of new hedgerows and increased areas of natural grass and wildflower meadows.

Wildflower species such as clover and dandelion provide important pollen and nectar sources for insects, bees and other pollinators that are a vital part of our ecosystem. Allowing grass to grow longer produces a more sustainable natural environment and provides food and shelter for animals, bees and other insects.

Across the parks and open spaces of Bedford, the Council has already reduced mowing, allowing large areas to grow naturally. This has seen the creation of significant areas where grasses and native plants have been allowed to grow and flower, with ecological benefits.

The Council is currently having a number of habitat surveys undertaken in urban open spaces including Addison Howard Park, Bedford Park and Longholme Lake, commissioned before the coronavirus outbreak. These will help the Council to determine additional ways to improve these areas for biodiversity, including recommendations for native species and wildflower meadows.

The Council is also bringing this approach out of the parks, and onto the streets. On roadside verges, the grass must be cut short to ensure that people can see and that junctions are safe. However, the grass is often left long at the back of the verge away from the road. This is an important way to encourage wildlife such as invertebrates, butterflies and bees into the heart of the urban area.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said "I know many people have enjoyed our beautiful parks and open spaces, especially in the recent months. Many have commented to me how they value the mix of mown areas where people can walk and play, and other areas left to protect the natural habitats for wildlife. We are now looking for more areas where communities would like to see less intensive cultivation and an increase in biodiversity. I have committed to planting 1,000 additional trees in the Borough and we are also planting new hedgerows on council land, as they are of huge importance to birds and other wildlife. We will also reduce dependence upon chemicals in our parks and play areas and we will be planting more bulbs that provide valuable nectar sources for wildlife and areas where mowing is reduced. As a Council we have declared a Climate Change Emergency and we are committed to being carbon free by 2030. A reduction in mowing will be a valuable way to reduce carbon emissions."

Residents are encouraged to contact the Council by email at bugsandbees@bedford.gov.uk if there is an area where they would like to see more wildlife friendly maintenance regimes implemented.