Meadowland and Wildflowers
Pollinators in Torfaen
Torfaen Council recognises that pollinators are an essential component of our environment and is committed to undertaking a series of actions to promote habitats for pollinators throughout Torfaen.
Pollinators (including bees, wasps, butterflies, hoverflies and moths) are an essential part of the natural environment, with an estimated value to the UK crop market of around £430 million. The value of honey produced in Wales alone is thought to be around £2million per year.
Declining numbers of pollinating insects are a growing concern across the world, and increasing the populations in Wales is a priority for Welsh government.
Two of the key initiatives the Torfaen Council is undertaking is to create a series of stunning wildflower areas along the main road corridors through Torfaen and creating areas of meadowland out of areas which previously have been cut on a regular basis.
Pictorial Wildflower areas
20 areas of wildflowers have been created along the main road corridors from Cwmbran to Blaenavon. These will provide a stunning display of wildflowers throughout the summer and will benefit a whole range of pollinating insects. These beds have been designed to demonstrate how beautiful wildflowers can be as well as encouraging people to plant their own wildflower areas.
Land previously intensively mown areas of grass which provided little or no benefit to biodiversity will be converted to meadowland this season.
When looking at which areas were suitable for meadowland the council considered:
- whether converting the area to meadowland still provided for sufficient amenity green space for the community, that is, areas for people to walk their dogs or for children to be able to play;
- whether converting the area would result in meadowland in due time; areas that in the opinion of the Senior Ecologist were likely to be overrun with bracken or brambles, have not been included;
- whether the area to be converted was free from invasive plants such as Japanese Knotweed, which has to be treated chemically.
The sites are those where the answer was ‘yes’ to all of the above and we believe we have derived a number of sites that will help us increase the ecology of the area, will encourage pollinators and will not adversely affect the community.
Converting these areas to meadowland involves changing our cutting regime in these areas. As was reported to Cabinet and Council, it is our intention to cut these areas once annually only. We will cleanse them once per quarter initially. Over time, indigenous species will re-establish themselves.
Other proposed initiatives to promote wildflowers include:
- Identifying other areas suitable for wild flower seeding.
- Reviewing how grassland is managed across Torfaen, with areas that are not being used for sport or other activities cut less frequently to encourage the growth of flowering species.
- Encouraging developers to make provision for pollinating insects in proposals for new housing and industrial sites.
The council is also investigating external funding opportunities, such as private sponsorship, which would allow further activities to be carried out, and is working closely with other organisations to offer expertise and advice on creating wild flower areas.
For more information about the pictorial wildflower areas or meadowland please contact the Neighbourhood Services Streetscene Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
If your are interested in in discussing any issues relating to ecology or pollinators please contact Steve Williams, Senior Ecologist on 01633 648256
Last Modified: 05/11/2015
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