New forests and tall grass sites planned in rewilding project
PUBLISHED: 16:00 31 October 2019
New habitats for wildlife will be set up across North Somerset in a bid to tackle climate change.
The authority owns around 2.5million sqm of verges, parks and open spaces and it is looking to increase biodiversity by turning a quarter of these sites into wildlife havens as part of a rewilding project.
Officers have been identifying potential council-owned land to plant trees or to allow grass to grow taller.
The council is hoping to convert 16 per cent of its sites into tall grass areas and a further 10 per cent into woodland.
Around 50,000 young trees will be planted to create 20 hectares of new woodland, enabling wildlife to flourish.
Cllr Bridget Petty, executive member for environment and climate emergency, said the council will also be helping towns, parishes and community groups with their rewilding projects as well as adopting its own programme.
She said: "Taller grass provides many benefits to wildlife including shelter as well as somewhere to hunt, feed and breed.
"And it's widely recognised that trees provide significant benefits to local communities, wildlife and in addressing climate change.
"We will be looking for volunteers to help us plant and look after the new trees.
"This will be a great opportunity for local people to get involved in a practical way with helping to address the climate emergency."
Trees will be planted in the new year and tall grass sites will be introduced over the next three years, starting next summer.
The project is estimated to cost £50,000, which will be funded from various sources including the Woodland Trust, Forestry Commission and Natural England.
A report outlining the rewilding programme will be considered by the council's community and corporate organisation policy and scrutiny panel on Tuesday. Following this, town and parish councils, residents and community groups will be consulted on the potential sites that have been identified.
Cllr Caritas Charles, executive member responsible for green spaces and community engagement, said: "We will be seeking people's views on the suitability of the areas we have identified for rewilding and also asking for suggestions of other potential sites."