Wildflower Meadow Mad!

In 2020, with support from the Future Parks Accelerator programme, Plymouth City Council took a radical new approach to grass cutting.

After gathering evidence to show that there are twice the number of pollinating insects and species found in meadow areas compared with amenity grassland, the Council decided to reduce the amount of grass being cut on over 1000 areas across the city, to support more plant and animal species can thrive.

Multiple benefits

The Council ran a social media campaign to inform people why they were taking this approach and encouraged residents to tell them what wildflowers they had seen.

A survey on one innocuous roadside verge in Prince Rock highlighted 17 wild flower species spotted in one June day - including a Bee Orchid. One lady wrote in to say how happy she was that she had recorded nearly 100 species of plants thriving within a mile of her home during her daily exercise. In fact, customer reports of problems with grass cutting was reduced by one-third of 2019 volumes.

Studies show that every year, for every hectare of amenity grassland restored to meadow grassland, over 11 tonnes of CO2 are stored in the soil. In addition the Council found out that mowing less meant a 33% reduction in fuel use from the previous year, reducing the carbon footprint of the service.

The Council are now working on applying this approach across the city as a Nature-Based Solution towards our Climate Emergency and Carbon Reduction targets.

Eva Mcgrath Bee on flower