Council teams balancing biodiversity and operational needs


Staff from the Cheshire West and Chester Council’s street care and green spaces teams have been working to ensure that the borough remains a haven for wildlife, while they carry out essential day-to-day maintenance.

The teams are presently carrying out grass cutting operations and are also looking for suitable locations for wildflower verges.

The conscious effort to protect the area’s biodiversity comes after residents recently raised concerns via social media when grass cutting operations cut down potential habitats for bees in a number of areas.

The council’s cabinet member for environment, Cllr Karen Shore, commented: “Although our grass cutting operations have started across in the borough, we know the vital role bees and other wildlife have in pollination.”

Cllr Shore added: “However, we have to strike a balance between maintaining our beautiful borough, driver safety and nurturing wildlife.

“To boost biodiversity in the borough our street care teams have planted dedicated wildflower areas which are a mix of cornfield and meadow styles. Extensive new meadow areas will also be created in some of our parks.

“Man-made meadows promote a very high diversity of wild plant species and stops grasses from taking over. The variety of flowers in turn attracts lots of insects and, of course, the creatures that feed on them.”

Cllr Shore continued: “We are keen to get the balance right and are looking at a long-term strategy.”

She said: “Many of our existing verges and hedges contain mixed species, often with fruit trees, to help pollinating insects like bees.

“A cycle of cutting on grass verges ensures their regeneration and is the best method to ensure any flowering plants aren’t blocked by hardier grass plants.

“We have to make careful decisions as to where wildflower verges can be planted, high plant life can dangerously limit a driver’s view at some junctions and bends.”

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Photo: a wildflower border in Ellesmere Port