An annual scheme to promote biodiversity and cultivate East Suffolk’s wildlife population is set to return.
Launched in 2020 as part of East Suffolk Council’s commitment to the protecting the environment, the ‘Pardon the Weeds, We’re Feeding the Bees’ campaign allows green spaces to grow and thrive with wildlife.
The reduced mowing programme aims to improve habitat for a variety of flora, fauna, animals and insects, including our crucial bee population, by letting grass and flowers grow wild.
This year, the scheme has expanded in scale to encompass 135 sites, which will be left to grow until late August/September.
Each site is marked with a bright yellow sign, asking passers-by to ‘Pardon the Weeds, We’re Feeding the Bees’, making residents and visitors aware of the scheme.
Areas are selected based on being large enough to provide an environmental benefit without presenting any safety issues for local communities.
Town and parish councils, supported by grounds and maintenance partners from East Suffolk Norse, will monitor the areas to remove litter and control any invasive plant species.
Cllr James Mallinder, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for the Environment, said:
“Pollinating insects have been in decline for decades due to habitat loss. It makes complete sense for us to create wildlife-friendly areas, rich in nectar, by mowing selected areas less frequently and allowing these potentially abundant grasslands to grow, where possible.
“And that’s not all. Another obvious benefit is the chance to increase the amount of carbon captured by our green spaces.
“This isn’t about cutting costs or just leaving areas unkempt. This is a carefully managed programme, motivated by our commitment to protect and enhance the environment.
“East Suffolk Council has implemented an ambitious environmental vision since declaring a climate emergency in 2019, we have and will continue to increase the number of wild spaces in the district, where a more conservation-based approach to cutting could promote biodiversity.
“Personally, I love to see this less manicured, more varied landscape across East Suffolk, and I’d love to see people sharing photos of their local wildlife spaces on social media, tagging in East Suffolk Council and using #PardonTheWeeds.”
A full list of biodiversity sites can be found online via a dedicated Pardon the Weeds page. Town and parish councils are encouraged to contact East Suffolk Council to highlight any additional areas. Residents are asked to contact their town or parish council directly if they have any suggestions for new wild spaces.
Voluntary and community groups also still have time to join the East Suffolk Blooms campaign by applying for narcissus bulbs, available in bundles of 500, to plant locally in time for next spring.
East Suffolk Blooms officially launched at the beginning of February – with groups required to complete an online application form by 31 May, ahead of a decision panel meeting to determine applications in June.
Visit East Suffolk Council’s website to find out more.