Change sterile grass areas into wildflower havens

Plantlife has produced an excellent guide to improving our environment by improving our grass verges

My colleague, Cllr Mirna Juarez, has tabled a motion to the first meeting of the Climate Change Select Committee of Liverpool Council asking for a review of all grass verges and spaces between dual carriageways in Liverpool, with a view to making them wildflower havens.

Cllr Juarez points out in her motion that this has three main benefits. Firstly, it makes areas more attractive, secondly, it saves money with less frequent grass cutting and thirdly it creates a haven for pollinating and other insects.

There is increasingly strong evidence that nice green and planted areas are very good for both physical and mental health. More greens calms people and encourages a positivity within their lives as well as attracting dangerous pollutants from the air.

Cutting the grass twice a year instead of 6 or 7 times saves cash which can used for other environmental activity.

Strips of wild flowers increase the number of insects, especially pollinating ones, that are vital for our parks, allotments, gardens and other green spaces.

As Cllr Juarez says this is the sixth motion that Liberal Democrat Councillors have tabled to the Climate Change Select Committee which has yet to meet. On July 17th the Council unanimously agreed to declare a climate change emergency and establish 4 different areas of action. It appointed a Climate Change Cabinet Member and established a new climate change select committee.

Since then absolutely nothing appears to have happened and we have to ask, “was the Council meeting and motion a complete waste of time?” The clock is ticking for climate change and the Council needs to take urgent action not just say the right words.

Cllr Juarez and the Lib Dem team would love to hear from you about areas where wildflower planting can be encouraged in your area. Contact her at 07954 434476 or at mirna.juarez@liverlibdems.org.uk

An excellent organisation called Plantlife has produced a whole series of resources to encourage the greater planting of wildflowers including the publication pictured above. They can be contacted at enquiries@plantlife.org.uk

This is the full motion to the Committee

Motion to the Climate Change Select Committee

Cllr Mirna Juarez

Encouraging the seeding of verges and main roads

This committee notes that there are many main roads in Liverpool with grassed areas to either a central reservation or roadside or both.

It requests the officers to undertake a review of all roads with a view to ensuring that grass cutting is reduced to twice wherever possible and areas seeded with wildflowers subject to the maintenance of satisfactory sight lines for drivers and pedestrians.

It believes that this approach will save the Council money, improve bio-diversity, provide better areas for pollinating insects and add to the charm and visual amenity of many of our main thoroughfares.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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1 Response to Change sterile grass areas into wildflower havens

  1. Laurence Cox says:

    Richard, As long as you appreciate that you will have to do this every year, this is an approach that has been used by other councils. I have been discussing this on another forum and another commentator responded with these:

    “I know the people involved in Plantlife, but we in BSBI (Bot Soc Brit Ireland) would hedge the recommendations more carefully.

    “It is quire a labour-intensive job, creating these one-season “wildflower” meadows, and could only be done for very limited areas.

    “It is much more important to reduce the frequency of cutting verges, and tailoring it to the time when flowers shed their seeds. But giving full regard to sightlines and maintaining visibility round corners.”

    and, in a separate comment:

    “But I have to say they are quite labour-intensive and will not perpetuate themselves. The section of the Aberdeen Western bypass section opened in summer 2018 had verges then that were a long ribbon of yellow and red. This resulted from the sowing of corn marigolds and red poppies into new bare soil.

    “But this summer the same verges have only a tiny number of these arable weeds, and instead we have the usual buttercups and white clover amidst the grass.”

    You ought to talk to BSBI as well as Plantlife.

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