Councils launch new nature recovery project
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils have launched a new nature recovery project called Let It Bee which aims to increase biodiversity on council land by allowing wildflowers and plants to grow on specific sites.
This pilot project follows last year’s successful No Mow May trial on seven sites across the districts owned by the councils. This year the parks team is increasing the number of sites to 17.
These will be monitored with the aim of increasing wildlife to these areas, in addition to allowing the existing plants to thrive by not being cut so often.
The councils have chosen locations which do not impact on pedestrians or sightlines for drivers and are also near shorter grass areas and pathways for people wishing to exercise, play or relax.
There will be signs at the sites identifying the areas. The councils have also created downloadable maps on the councils’ dedicated web pages: www.southoxon.gov.uk/let-it-bee and www.whitehorsedc.gov.uk/let-it-bee.
The Let It Bee project is part of a wider programme of managing council-owned land for nature which includes existing wildflower meadows where the parks team actively sow flower seeds and work on the land to encourage growth. This year the councils are creating two new wildflower meadows at Cronshaw Close in Didcot and Heron’s Walk in Abingdon to add to the 11 existing wildflower meadows managed by the councils.
Cllr Sue Cooper, South Oxfordshire District Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Climate Change and Nature Recovery said: “The pilot we ran last year allowed wild plants and flowers to grow, which was good news for insect life, particularly pollinators such as bees and birds. We are delighted to be able to extend the number of sites this year. We plan to engage with the local community to monitor the difference that this approach is making and to use the results to inform how we develop this programme in future.”
Councillor Sally Povolotsky, Vale of White Horse District Council Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Environment said: “When lawns and other grassy areas are kept short through very regular mowing, wild plants don’t get the chance to grow, flower and seed and thrive. In addition to increasing insect life to the area, the Let It Bee project should make the plants and the soil better able to withstand periods of extreme weather, as we had last summer.”
The Let It Bee project will operate at the following sites (click on the links to see the maps):
- Berinsfield – Fane Drive
- Berinsfield – Green Furlong
- Berinsfield – Kennet Close
- Didcot – Fleet Meadow
- Didcot – Ladygrove
- Didcot – Mowbray Fields
- Wallingford – Radnor Road
- Woodcote – Wittenham Close
- Abingdon – Abbey Meadow
- Abingdon – Fitzharris Estate
- Abingdon – Oxford Road
- Abingdon – Rye Farm
- Abingdon – Tilsley Park
- Abingdon – White Horse Leisure Centre
- Faringdon – Marlborough Gardens
- Wantage – Mably Way
- Wantage – Manor Road
Notes to editors The total area now set aside for the Let it Bee project is around 62,700 m²or 15.5 acres/or 6.27Ha)