Council to adopt re-wilding programme across North Somerset to improve area’s biodiversity

North Somerset Council will adopt a re-wilding programme.

North Somerset Council will adopt a re-wilding programme. - Credit: Cilla Franks

A national incentive to improve biodiversity will be launched across North Somerset.

North Somerset Council has agreed to embark on a re-wilding programme, a colourful alternative approach to grass cutting.

Instead of cutting down grass verges, they will be allowed to grow naturally and several local authorities in England have taken to re-wilding their roadsides by planting wildflowers instead.

Cllr Catherine Gibbons proposed a motion at a full council meeting on Tuesday, which was unanimously supported, for the authority to identify as many verges, parks and open spaces as possible where the programme can be adopted.

Cllr Gibbons cited Rotherham, in Yorkshire, as an example where more than eight miles of grass verges have been replaced with flowers, saving its council an estimated £25,000 in the past four years.

She said: "This scheme is vital to restoring our ecosystems and sustaining a high level of biodiversity.

"The programme will also create additional habitats for bees, insects and other wildlife and provide attractive wild areas of educational value to the community.

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"This is only a small step but we need to take it to show the community we are committing to making this change in North Somerset and making it a better place for all our residents."

Members also agreed they would help town, parish and community groups with their re-wilding and tree-planting projects.

Earlier this week, campaigners in Manchester started planting flowers and clover at 16 roadside sites and Aberdeen, in Scotland, is also considering adopting the scheme.

Councillors hope a re-wilding programme will cut costs and be a small step to help tackle climate change.

The authority declared a climate emergency in February with the aim of going carbon neutral by 2030.

Cllr Nicola Holland said: "The benefits of re-wilding are huge to people's mental and physical health, we understand the needs for children to have wildlife, but they also need somewhere to play now.

Cllr Ann Harley added: "We have got to educate so people do not think they can litter."