Say No to the Mow

Last week these verges on the A19 by Deighton and on Wheldrake Lane between Crockey Hill and Wheldrake - were a sea of wildflowers providing a habitat and food for pollinators and other wildlife.

This week they are just another crime scene.

We are all responsible for protecting wildflowers and wild animals. Over the past 40 years we have witnessed catastrophic declines in wild bird populations as their habits have been destroyed by development, by agriculture, and by people wanting to 'tidy' up the natural world. The natural world does not need our tidying. We all need to think again.

Between 2013 and 2020 a third of all pollinator species in the UK have declined. We appear oblivious to the reality that a third of all human food depends on pollinators fertilising flowers.

Our rural verges are for the most part council-owned land. No one is asking landowners, residents, farmers or others to cut these verges. Worst of all people are cutting the verges when flowers are in full bloom and before they have a chance to set seed. This deprives bees and other pollinators of food, which in turn deprives birds of bird. The harmful impact  of biodiversity is cumulative and catastrophic.

The council's new pollinators strategy calls for the council to do more to educate the public. Instead of working hard to destroy biodiversity we should all be actively protecting it for two key reasons: wild animals and plants have as much right to exist as we do and, secondly, we depend on our wild world for our own survival. A world without wildlife and without bees and other pollinator is a world that will not support us.

As a direct consequence of Brexit, farmers are no longer receiving funding to set aside a wild border around the edges of their field to provide safe haven for wildlife. Around my ward we can see the result as these wild spaces have simply been ploughed up and removed. This puts even more pressure on wildlife.

Our verges can look like if it is left alone. This spring a team of us volunteers wildflower seeded 7000 square metres of rural verge in Wheldrake Ward. What looks better our beautiful living flowering verge with its sea of flowers teeming with life or these barren green carpets?

Do we really want to leave our children struggling in a world without bees? Time to think again and protect the world on which we all depend. I propose that the city council launches a competition to see which community can do the most to promote wildflowers along its verges.

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