It’s all part of a partnership project with Avon Wildlife Trust, which aims to boost biodiversity and benefit local people. The vision is turn public spaces across the area into vibrant, buzzing habitats. The hope is that this will be a grassroots project in more ways than one, with communities getting involved and ultimately driving the work.
The plan is simple. By moving from regular mowing to just one or two cuts annually, these areas will offer habitats for a host of animals in decline – including Britain’s favourite mammal, the hedgehog. Not only is taller grass beneficial to many species, mowing less often allows plants to flower which otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance, providing a much-needed source of nectar for our struggling pollinators like bees and butterflies.
With a third of all food produced in the UK dependent on pollination by insects like these, any help for these species is great news for all of us. Studies have shown insect species have suffered declines of up to 75%, with many at risk of extinction. These worrying trends have been driven largely by changes in land management. Whilst intensive farming practices have been a major factor, in urban areas an overenthusiasm for neatness has led to further destruction and fragmentation of habitats.
Whilst many spaces will still be mown regularly, by eliminating unnecessary cutting where they can, the council hopes to provide a boost for biodiversity whilst showcasing how habitats can run right through the heart of our towns and cities.