Wildflower meadows could replace cut grass in greenspaces across Sefton, as the council looks to manage more of its outdoor spaces in a way that will boost biodiversity and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
The local authority’s Green Sefton Service has unveiled a new vision for managing the borough’s outdoor spaces, from open coast and countryside to formal parks, sports pitches, allotments and cemeteries.
It will be underpinned by a commitment that recognises the way that people use and interact with these places, and how this can ultimately benefit the environment.
Green Sefton plans to develop its calendar of landscape maintenance to account for when certain operations should and shouldn’t take place. For instance, to better navigate bird nesting season and to avoid mowing grass at certain times of year to allow insects to feed. Many of these principles can also apply to residents’ own gardens at home.
The service has been working towards this approach in recent years, utilising new landscape management techniques such as creating wildflower meadows in parks. The incredibly successful wildflower planting that has taken place since 2019 at Rimrose Valley, demonstrates how working alongside its communities, the Council can manage spaces in a more innovative and environmentally friendly way.
As part of this new approach, a pilot will take place next spring at Victoria Park in Crosby, to redevelop an area of grass into a wildflower meadow which is ‘managed for nature’. The project will be supported by the park’s Friends group, a local business and schoolchildren will be invited to help seed the site.
It is hoped that, following this pilot, the concept will be rapidly rolled out across several existing sites in the Borough before targeting new opportunities alongside community groups and businesses.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“With the climate emergency at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we must ensure that Sefton plays its role in tackling these challenges and coming up with ways to really make a difference.
“Traditionally our land management techniques have been driven by historic methods, cost-effectiveness and the perception that neatly trimmed and mown sites are the most visually appealing. But what we have seen over recent years is a real calling from our communities to manage sites for nature, to ensure that we are using sustainable methods and to create havens for not only people to enjoy but wildlife too.
“This desire aligns perfectly with the Council’s own 2030 vision which is underpinned by our efforts to tackle the climate emergency. Managing more sites for nature, be that through tree planting, designating no mow areas or sowing new wildflower meadows, will increase the amount of carbon we can capture, improving things like air quality. It will also offer a boost to many pollinators, helping to maintain the variety of species that we need to ensure our planet remains intact for future generations.”
As well as seeking support from its residents, Green Sefton officers are keen to hear from any local businesses who might want to support not just the managed for nature sites, but any other outdoor spaces, that are so vital to the people of Sefton.
Since 2014, businesses have contributed approximately 1,500 hours involving 250 volunteers through litter-picking activities and maintenance at some of the most popular Green Sefton sites. Now it is hoped that businesses who are looking to ensure that they play a part in managing the climate crisis, can do so by sponsoring projects and activities through Green Sefton.
Cllr Moncur added:
“Business have made a big difference already, working in partnership with our Green Sefton Service, but as we face ever increasing concerns about the impact of climate change, we want them to join forces with us to act on this emergency.
“What’s more, is that businesses could also help to support and give back to the people of Sefton. It could be helping a child to access a grassroots sport, a community group to grow their own produce or a young person to gain work experience in land management or horticulture.
“The support from Sefton-based businesses could make a real difference to our special places and our amazing residents.”
More information about the Green Sefton Business Supporter Scheme, and the variety of ways businesses can get involved, can be found on the Council’s website: www.sefton.gov.uk/greensefton