Worcester City Council is taking action to encourage wildflowers to flourish in areas across the city - in a bid to boost the numbers of bees, butterflies, and other insects, that play an important role in our ecosystem.
“The UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows since the Second World War – which is incredibly worrying because they provide essential nutrients for 270 species of native bee,” explains Paul Snookes from the Worcester Environmental Group.
“We are pleased the Council is taking this action and look forward to the programme expanding to more sites in the future.”
The authority has worked in partnership with the Worcester Environmental Group, reducing the frequency of grass verge cutting at some locations and introducing new techniques to encourage more flowers to grow. Strips of grass will continue to be cut around the borders of wildflower areas.
The result is an abundance of wildflowers at sites such as Dugdale Drive in Warndon Villages (WR4 0AZ), where an information board and QR coded posts have been installed allowing people to find out more about the species they spot. These include Bush Vetch; Red Clover; Wild Carrot and Herb Robert.
“Worcester City Council declared a Biodiversity Emergency in 2020, because we recognise that action needs to be taken immediately to stop the decline of our native species,” explains Cllr Andy Stafford, Chair of Worcester City Council’s Environment Committee.
“The success of Dugdale Drive shows us that with a change in mowing practices we can turn barren grass verges into vibrant natural habitats for our native wildflowers and insects. They not only look beautiful, but they also support bees and other insects which pollinate plants and provide food to our native birds.”
Warndon Parish South councillor Andy Roberts added: “The reaction from residents has been overwhelmingly positive. Encouraging more wildflowers to grow is a small but important step to help protect the natural environment. I’m delighted to see the wildflower information board installed at Dugdale Drive; it’s really important that residents understand why we’re taking this action.”
The authority also planted wildflowers at a number of new sites this year – including Hylton Road; Bromwich Parade; City Walls Road and the Bromwich Road.
A different mix of wildflowers has been planted at each site to create a variety of species and colours. Soil type, soil fertility, shading, exposure to the sun, driver visibility and accessibility are all issues which are taken in to account when new locations are selected.
Further actions to boost biodiversity are set out in Worcester City Council’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2020 - 30.