Cambridgeshire County Council is joining Plantlife’s biodiversity initiative by pledging not to cut roadsides this month

By Siobhan Middleton

You’ve probably heard of Veganuary and Second-Hand September on the list of month-long green initiatives, but how about No Mow May?

An initiative by the conservation organization Plantlife, which works to protect endangered wildflowers, plants and fungi. More than 700 species of wildflowers are said to grow on Britain’s roadsides – that’s almost 45 per cent of all wildflower species found across the country.

And roadsides are not the only focus of the UK campaign, which aims to encourage gardeners to ban their lawnmowers in May and use them less over the summer.

Wildflowers growing by the roadside (56392218)

Cambridgeshire County Council is joining its efforts to boost biodiversity and will not cut roadsides throughout the month.

Cllr Gerri Bird (Lab, East Chesterton), Vice-Chair of the Council’s Highways and Transport Committee, said: “It is really important that we make changes wherever possible to support our local biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions, and this is just one step we are taking to help us achieve net zero emissions.

“Of course road safety is also a priority for us, so road users can be sure that all necessary maintenance work is carried out and that the signage remains clearly visible.”

There was support for the Cambridge Borough Council’s decision.

Councilor Katie Porrer (Lib Dem, Market) said: “I raised ‘No Mow May’ last year to see if the council participated in it, which it didn’t. I’m glad it’s going on this year.

“I think this initiative will remind people across Cambridgeshire of what they can do to support biodiversity. I grow my own garden instead of mowing it too often and I think a lot of people can do that.

“Where grasses or plants need to be controlled for valid reasons, herbicides certainly should not be used and that’s something I’ve pressured the council about.”

Why not let your lawn grow in May?  (56392222)
Why not let your lawn grow in May? (56392222)

Fellow Hannah Copley (Green, Abbey) said: “Last year there were areas on the outskirts of Barnwell that were allowed to grow and turn into meadows. However, the contractors mowed these areas twice, which was a real problem. I hope this doesn’t happen again.

“Cities can be really good places to support wildlife as long as people make an effort. This includes growing flowers and verges, but also things like cutting hedgehog holes in fences and securing water sources in gardens.

“There’s so much we can do and we have to do it all across Cambridgeshire.”

Referring to statistics showing the potential of lawns to care for wildlife, including the over 250 plant species reported from the gardens of last year’s No Mow May participants, Plantlife CEO Ian Dunn said: “A little more wildness in Greeting our gardens can be a boon for plants, butterflies and bees. We are thrilled with the unfolding twilight of a new British turf.”

Find out more at https://nomowmay.plantlife.org.uk/.

Do you join? Let us know and share some pictures of your wildflower gardens by emailing [email protected]

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