TV gardener’s campaign gets local support

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A new campaign to increase wild flowers, plants and wildlife is being backed by North Tyneside Council.

TV gardener Alan Titchmarch wants to help save wild flowers in areas under attack from too much mowing, urging local authorities to adopt the verge management guidelines drawn up by the charity Plantlife.

Now the council is looking to create more open spaces and roadside verges as part of the ‘Alan Challenge’.

It is proposing to turn selected sites around trees, pylons, by-passes as well as verges and fields into new biodiversity areas offering the perfect home for butterflies, bees, bird and small animals.

These locations will be cut less frequently to allow seeds to be sown, wild flowers to flourish and trees to grow in these grassy areas.

The council will also be encouraging schools and community groups to get involved in the creation and evaluation of these areas and help them create their own special areas and act as their guardians.

For more information on the proposed locations for the biodiversity sites visit www.northtyneside.gov.uk, search for ‘Newcastle and North Tyneside Biodiversity Action Plan’.

Coun John Harrison, cabinet member responsible for environment said: “I’m delighted that we’ll be working with Plantlife and trialling selected areas, re-colonising them with plants and attractive wild flowers to support the campaign for halting the global decline of butterflies and bumblebees.

“We’ve identified locations that could be ideal designated biodiversity areas acting as life-giving arteries by linking habitats and acting as vital corridors for wildlife.

“They are sites where the grass doesn’t need to be cut regularly – places such as larger open spaces, central reservations and roadside verges, banksides and areas where bulbs have been planted.

“As with all trials and schemes, safety must come first and residents can be assured that we will continue to cut grass at road junctions and their approaches so that road users can see oncoming traffic. Where possible we’ll cut paths through the larger areas so people can still enjoy walking or exercising their dogs.”