Derbyshire councils to support No Mow May and help bees and other wildlife thrive

Residents, groups and organisations across Derbyshire are being urged to help wildlife by letting wildflowers grow free during May as part of a month-long campaign.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 12:45 pm

Wild plant conservation charity Plantlife is encouraging people ‘to do nothing for nature’ by keeping the mower in the shed and letting lawns and verges deliver a ‘lifeline for biodiversity, butterflies and bees’.

Their campaign, dubbed No Mow May, is also calling on schools, councils and landowners to take part and maximise spring flower and nectar production.

Last year, the UK basked in the driest May since 1896 and the sunniest spring since 1929.

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A honey bee on a dandelion could be a more common sight this month if verges are left to grow. Image: Trevor Dines, Plantlife.

Plantlife’s Every Flower Counts citizen science survey data revealed spring flowers wilted in the drought, with 56 per cent fewer dandelion flowers and 40 per cent fewer daisies on our lawns.

Dr Trevor Dines, botanical specialist at Plantlife, said: “Our results show flower and nectar production are highest when we mow just once a month and, if plants are already suffering from drought, the best thing you can do for pollinators is reduce mowing and allow remaining flowers to bloom.”

Plantlife also believes the pandemic has encouraged residents to appreciate wildflowers in their gardens.

Bird's-foot-trefoil growing in a lawn. Image: Trevor Dines, Plantlife.

Dr Dines said: “As our daily horizons shrank to the confines of our homes and gardens, people sought out connections with nature like never before.

"We’ve come to appreciate the vital role wild flowers play in supporting a wealth of wildlife and are less comfortable with the neat-and-tidy aesthetic, embracing a wilder approach instead.”

Councils in Derbyshire said they were happy to get onboard and support the campaign.

Counting flowers. Image: Trevor Dines, Plantlife.

A spokesperson for Chesterfield Borough Council said: “We support #NoMowMay and have been reducing the frequency of our mowing schedule since 2017.

"On road verges we try to mow as little as possible with some areas receiving just one or two cuts a year whilst still ensuring we adhere to the Highways Act and maintain clear lines of sight.

“In our open spaces we have also reduced how often we mow, several areas with trees are receiving no cuts at all.

"We have also designated some key spaces in the borough as meadow mow, meaning we have reduced cutting from nine times a year to once or twice and are supporting this with the creation of wildflower areas around the borough.

“We understand how important it is to encourage biodiversity and how reducing mowing can significantly help plants, animals and mini-beasts to become more established, this is something that we are committed to through our Climate Change Action Plan and will continue to develop a mowing strategy that supports biodiversity.”

Derbyshire County Council said it managed countryside estate grasslands and many roadside verges ‘with wildlife in mind’.

A spokesperson said: “Many of our grasslands are managed on a hay meadow regime with a late summer cut to benefit insects and to allow seeds to drop and we provide living bird table plantings to benefit pollinators and birdlife.

“We manage a number of the most wildflower rich road verges as ‘Road Verge Reserves’, striving where possible for a meadow style of management.”