Frequently Asked Questions
Closely mown grass unfortunately has little to no benefit for nature. Pollinators across the UK are in trouble due to pressures such as pesticide use and loss of habitat. For example, since the end of the war, 97% of wildflower meadows in the UK have been lost – a very stark statistic. We rely on pollinators for our food supply chain and we need to provide them with homes and places to feed to ensure their survival.
The council manages a significant amount of land as roadside verge through mowing and there is a significant opportunity to enhance biodiversity and provide homes for these pollinators in the county through a change of management on some of this area.
It is important to contribute to tackling the nature and climate crisis by enhancing nature where we can on public land. The council also has a duty protect, conserve and enhance our natural environment under the terms of the Corporate Plan, Biodiversity Duty Plan, NPT Nature Recovery Action Plan and Wales Pollinator Action Plan.
Improving the extent and condition of wildflower grassland will also have benefits for wellbeing of communities, as research has proven that being close to nature improves mental health and wellbeing.
Figure 10 Common Blue Butterfly
Collecting the arisings reduces nutrient levels and prevents a thick thatch from forming. This allows wildflower seeds to germinate and prevents vigorous competitive species from dominating. Over time, removing the cuttings makes verges easier to manage as reduced nutrient levels means that slower growing flower species start to replace lush grass growth.
No. Safety will always come first, which means some areas will still be regularly mown as visibility splays.
Not at all. Whilst ultimately over time this approach may lead to a cost saving for NPT Council, the reduction in frequency of required mowing should allow more resources to be focused on other street care needs, such as litter removal and sign cleaning.
In the short term, although there may be a reduction in cutting in some particular areas at particular times of the year, there is still a cost involved in collecting arisings, maintaining machinery and in some cases, removing arisings from site. There will be no immediate saving to the council from the scheme.
Nature by definition isn’t neat! For some, seeing areas being left to grow longer may take some getting used to. However, we believe that we should be doing what we can to help pollinators and we will aim to maintain ‘edge cuts’ on some of the areas, where path and road edges will be mown to maintain a neat appearance.
Figure 11 Edge cut
NPT Bee Friendly is a new scheme (since 2021) and it may just be that we are unaware of the area. Get in touch to suggest the site to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to the reasons outlined in Section 5 of this document, we favour change of management over seeding or planting where possible, in order to encourage the native seed bank to flourish without introducing non-native species or those which would not naturally occur in the area.
If after three years of management through cut and collect, the area is showing no signs of increasing in wildflower diversity, we may consider assisting the establishment of wildflowers by sourcing plug plants, green hay or seeds of local origin. Please contact the Countryside and Wildlife Team for information on this or to express an interest in assisting with this.
In most cases, Meadow Cut areas will be marked with the NPT Bee Friendly Logo but if this is not present, please get in touch to check if an area is included in the scheme.
No, hay fever is mainly caused by grasses and managing with cut and collect machinery will reduce the nutrients and lead to a reduction in grasses and an increase in wildflowers. Wildflowers are pollinated by insects rather than wind, so they do not release their pollen in the same way as grasses and trees.
Of course! Just get in touch via email. Please bear in mind that there are restrictions which may prevent the area from being included in the scheme, including safety or amenity reasons. Additionally, we are only able to include local authority owned land.
Whilst honeybees are wonderful for food production or wellbeing, unfortunately, under some circumstances, managed hives can have a harmful effect on local biodiversity. The honeybee is not an endangered species and in NPT we have small populations of endangered wild pollinators, such as the Shrill Carder Bee (Bombus sylvarum). There is increasing concern that declines in wild pollinators may be exacerbated by unnaturally high densities of honeybees, associated with some forms of beekeeping*.
Managed honeybees are known to affect wild pollinators in two main ways: competition for floral resources, and the spread of diseases **. Each hive introduces an extra 35-40,000 honeybees to the area, and therefore beekeepers should create significant floral resources for each hive in order to reduce the pressure on wild bees already present in the locality of the hive.
In order to prevent unnecessary strain on our wild bee populations, we will not be installing bee hives ourselves, or allowing installation of bee hives on council-owned land under the NPT Bee Friendly Scheme. You can read more about honeybees and conservation in the position statement on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.
*Roubik 1978, Goulson 2003, Paini 2004, Fürst et al 2014, Geslin et al 2016, Torné-Noguera et al 2016, Cane & Tepedino 2017, Mallinger et al 2017, Geldman & González-Varo 2018, Wojcik et al 2018
** Paini 2004, Van der Spek 2012, Mallinger et al 2017, Kleijn et al 2018