More information on urban meadows
What will the site look like?
Some of the sites may take a few years for the fine grasses and wildflowers to become more dominant than the vigorous grasses. But with each year it will look better. Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and hopefully through this project everyone will be able to appreciate the natural beauty of semi-natural grassland but also the increase in wildlife that will return such as butterflies and bees that currently cannot use the close mown grass areas.
Why aren't there any colourful wildflowers? Shouldn't you have sown wildflower seed?
Areas of planting of cornfield annuals, like poppy and cornflower, are commonly called meadows but are actually not meadows at all. A true meadow is an area of grass maintained by an annual hay cut, as explained elsewhere on these pages. It is made up mostly of grasses, types of daisy, pea and vetch. Are you sure your meadow is a meadow? (external link).
Why doesn't the site match the plans?
On some sites we have put together some plans of where we will cut, but these are very much a guide and are not cast in stone. With any change in land management we need to be mindful of such things as desire lines and how people interact with the space so plans may well be tweaked as this becomes more evident.
How will this benefit my local open space?
By improving the natural environment we will be making your area a more wildlife friendly place to live. By making more space for nature, this can improve pollination rates for flowers, fruit and vegetables in your area. Over half our food needs pollination by insects.
What's in it for me?
We all need biodiversity to allow us to live our lives. The biodiversity that surrounds us provides us with clean air to breath, freshwater to drink, clothes to wear and food to eat. Wildlife and the natural areas around us underpin our health and well-being. On top of that, you may discover new wildlife in your area, such as an exciting glimpse of hedgehogs that come to feed at night or butterflies flitting past your front door.
Will it improve things for wildlife?
Yes, there is a large body of scientifically gathered evidence to demonstrate that grasslands support a number of species from butterflies to bumblebees, hoverflies to beetles, birds to mammals. It will take a little time for the wildlife to return, but by having these areas that are managed well for wildlife will make local wildlife resilient to change by having a safe area to live and also help increase populations of rarer species that are just holding on.
Will this change save the council money?
Introducing urban meadows is a positive change to how we manage our large estate of grasslands for the benefit of wildlife and people. However the change in management will also deliver a small financial saving, and enable us to use resources differently. This way we can invest in making these areas for wildlife better through tweaking the management and perhaps improving some areas that need a little enhancement like planting wild flower species for example.
Will it encourage rats and other pests?
No. Discarded food and food wrappers attract rats, but introducing an urban meadow will not attract them further. In fact, by encouraging wildlife this can have a positive impact on pests especially in the context of gardening where hedgehogs may eat slugs and snails, and ladybirds will eat aphids from vegetables you might grow.