Campaigners are calling on Bristol council to reduce grass cutting in verges and green spaces around the city. The move would reduce maintenance costs for the Council and support biodiversity including insect populations, helping Bristol to tackle the ecological emergency declared in February this year.
A petition has been created by member of the public Martyn Cordey which calls on Bristol Council to “urgently review” mowing and strimming in green spaces to “allow nature the opportunity to thrive”, save money, and “create a healthier environment for all in the long term”. Green Party Councillor Carla Denyer is backing the campaign and will present the petition to the Council next week, on Tuesday 8th December.
Councillor Denyer explained:
“I am presenting Martyn’s ‘Say No To The Mow’ petition to the Mayor next week because now is the perfect time for Bristol to make these changes. Earlier this year Bristol declared an Ecological Emergency and pledged that at least 30% of land in Bristol would be managed for the benefit of wildlife by 2030. This petition presents a solution that will help achieve that goal and save money – a win-win situation!
“Other Councils are already ‘Saying No To the Mow’, including Dorset Council, who have developed a successful programme of ‘cut and collect’ on urban verges which has led to the authority saving money, time, and natural habitats. The Plantlife campaign has produced a set of guidelines to help other Councils follow suit.”
The idea is that reducing cutting in verges and parks will support wildflowers, providing a habitat and food source for insects and animal life. The UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s and many important pollinator species are in decline.
The petition text says: “Naturally, each green space may be habitat-specific with a need for some kind of management, and there is also the need to maintain visibility at roadside junctions……but is this relentless pursuit in keeping so many entire green spaces mown to a couple of millimetres really necessary?
“There is no agenda to completely re-wild all green spaces, verges, parks and cemeteries; it is more a case of achieving the correct balance to enable nature to thrive, while still allowing humans enough space.”
Councillor Denyer continued,
“There is strong demand for more wildlife-friendly outdoor spaces from people in Bristol and across the UK. Over 1,800 people have already signed this petition to Bristol City Council, and over 118,000 people joined a similar nationwide campaign.”
“Once you have signed the petition, if you have 5 more minutes and want to increase the chances of Bristol adopting these changes, you can submit a question or statement to next week’s Council meeting asking the Council to adopt the Plantlife guidance. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Wednesday 2nd December, or statements by noon on Monday 7th.”