Rugby Borough Council’s review of its management of parks, open spaces and roadside verges has been welcomed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. The Council has a long term strategy to provide residents with access to green space for leisure, recreation, health and wellbeing, as well as supporting biodiversity.
This year the Council has not cut the grass as much in some areas. You may have seen in the news recently that the UK has experienced some of the biggest declines in wildlife anywhere in the world. 97% of wild flower meadows have been lost since the end of the Second World War and many of our bees and butterflies are threatened with extinction. Quite simply, longer grass, which is cut less often, is better for wildlife as it allows wild flowers to grow and provides a home for small mammals, insects and other species.
Wild flowers are vital for pollinators like bees and butterflies, whose pollination of fruit, vegetables and cereal crops provides us with one in every three mouthfuls of food we eat. So by helping pollinators, we help people too.
Ian Jelley, Director of Living Landscapes for Warwickshire Wildlife Trust: “Whilst it is important to provide adequate provision for sport and recreation, local authorities can make a huge difference for wildlife by leaving some grassland areas a bit longer and planting native wild flowers as an alternative. It is also important to explain to people why places like Shakespeare Gardens and Boughton Road Recreation Ground are being managed differently, as this is a new practice in the area. Rugby Borough Council are leading the way with this approach and we hope the community support this initiative, especially as paths have been cut to allow people to still walk round.”
Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is working in partnership with local authorities like Rugby Borough Council to create Living Landscapes that are bigger, better and more joined up for the benefit of wildlife and people. By tweaking the management regime of some areas to reduce the regularity of cutting, or incorporating native wild flower planting, local authorities can create ‘wildlife service stations’ in the town for species facing extinction, such as bees and butterflies.
The Trust hopes that other local authorities will emulate Rugby Borough Council’s leadership on this issue and adopt alternative forms of management for their parks and open spaces.