close
close

No Mow May: Councils urge Brits to ditch lawnmowers | Wildlife

Once upon a time, an unkempt front lawn could have gotten you in trouble with the neighbors. But now councils are telling UK households to put away their lawnmower for No Mow May.

The month-long celebration of uncut gardens and parks was started in 2019 by nature charity Plantlife, which encourages people to let grass and wildflowers grow and identify any interesting plants emerging from the lawn.

The charity says 40 councils have committed to letting some of their verges and parks grow. This not only provides space for rare wildflowers, but also provides habitat and food for birds and invertebrates.

Andrew Doyle, head of road verge and green space conservation at Plantlife, said: “Experiencing the biodiversity benefits and cost savings that come with a magical month of No Mow May is a glorious gateway for councils across the country. your path to the longer future. In the long term, wildlife-friendly grassland green space management, our wild plants and fungi (and the ecosystems that depend on them) need to thrive, benefiting the local community and the climate.”

Wandsworth Borough Council, south London, will leave 20 designated sites unmowed and advise local households to do the same with their gardens. Councilors have said private domestic gardens cover 716 hectares (1,770 acres) in Wandsworth, almost 20% of the borough’s total area.

Bradford Council will leave 85 green spaces in the area uncut. A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “We are looking to implement ‘no cutting’ on some of our sites to maintain the biodiverse area and natural preservation. “We must all do what we can to create a more sustainable district for the future.”

Isle of Wight councilors say its natural heritage is an important facet of the island’s UNESCO status, so protecting it by doing No Mow May makes sense.

Natasha Dix, the council’s director of services for environment and waste planning, said: “Encouraging biodiversity is of significant importance for our environment. The presence of wild orchids, including declining man orchid, green-winged orchid, southern marsh orchid, northern marsh orchid, and bee orchid, can brighten freed lawns and enhance our natural spaces.

A pyramidal orchid in a field on the Isle of Wight. Photograph: Ian Ridett/PA

“The urgency lies in the threat to the global bee population. By allowing grass to flower, even if just for a month, we actively support our local bees and contribute to the wider structures of biodiversity that play a vital role in maintaining balance. I encourage everyone to participate in this important effort. Let’s unleash the power of wildflowers.”

Warwick Council is also involved. Councilor Will Roberts said: “Nature is not neat, but it is a big part of where we live. “Beneath the tall grass, wildflowers and what might be considered ‘weeds’ lies a thriving habitat of vital species that will help us combat the negative effects of climate change, providing multiple benefits for wildlife and people.”

Ian Dunn, chief executive of Plantlife, said: “Support for the Plantlife campaign is flourishing beautifully as people recognize the benefits to plants, people, pollinators and the planet of cutting less and later for nature. . “The small act of giving the lawnmower a month off and then cutting less over the summer can make a big difference at a time when we are facing interrelated climate and biodiversity emergencies.”