Almost £60,000 will help to create wildflower areas

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WILDFLOWER areas in Northumberland are set to blossom thanks to a £59,314 boost from SITA.

The Growing Wild project aims to create a network of wildlife rich amenity grassland by allowing appropriate areas to grow into wildflower meadows.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust will be working alongside Northumberland County Council to help deliver the project.

The funding will enable the council to change the traditional management technique of carrying out regular cutting throughout the spring and summer growing season on some of its amenity grassland.

Residents will be involved in determining suitable areas where the project would be most effective.

They will then be able to see the transformation as more and more flowers become established and bees and butterflies start to inhabit the sites.

Coun Alan Thompson, pictured, executive member responsible for highways and neighbourhood services at the council, said: “We want to see our green areas becoming more self-sustaining, and to develop natural habitats for flowers and insects wherever this is appropriate.

“The funding will help us to increase the biodiversity value of areas of grassland across Northumberland.”

Volunteers from Northumberland Wildlife Trust will help officers prepare sites for the introduction of wildflower seed and also survey them to see how many different flowers have become established.

Elaine More, conservation officer with Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the county council on creating wildflower rich areas of grassland in our urban areas.

“Through our work, sites will see an increase in bees and other pollinating insects which are vital to the production of the vast majority of the fruits and vegetables we need – every little bit of nectar-rich planting will make a difference.”

Wildflower seed will be sourced from local farmers to ensure that it is able to cope with the diverse weather conditions the county experiences.

SITA Trust is no stranger to this type of project having provided more than £85m in funding through the Landfill Communities Fund since 1997.

Through this fund the trust made sums available for community and environmental groups to carry out a range of improvement projects.

It has distributed millions in the north east during this time.

Jools Granville ,of SITA Trust, said: “It’s fantastic to see local people working with conservation experts to decide where amenity grassland can be transformed into natural habitat filled with wild flowers, insects and bees.

“We were delighted to support Northumberland County Council’s forward-thinking approach to creating more diverse natural areas in towns across the county.”