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Council introduces ‘pollinator friendly’ grass cutting

Photo credit: Cardiff Council

More pollinator friendly ‘one cut’ mowing regimes have been adopted at 18 new sites across Cardiff. 

The sites cover an overall area of 9 hectares, the equivalent of 12.5 football pitches. The trial is part of the council’s ongoing work to help encourage wildflower growth and provide important habitats for pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, whose numbers are declining in the UK.

The areas, which have not been cut this year and will receive only one cut, in early autumn are:

  • Pentwyn Drive (part of)  –  Pentwyn
  • Roath Botanic Gardens (part of) – Cyncoed
  • Sandies / Railway Gardens – Penylan
  • Pendragon Open Space –  Llanishen
  • Heol y Felin / All Saints – Rhiwbina
  • Gabalfa Interchange Bowl –  Gabalfa
  • Llanishen Park (part of) – Llanishen
  • Heath Park (part of) – Heath
  • Pocket Park Wetlands – Butetown
  • Fairwater Park (part of) – Fairwater
  • Taff Embankment  – Riverside
  • Caedelyn Park (part of) – Rhiwbina
  • Parkfield Place  – Gabalfa
  • Green Farm Recreation Ground – Ely
  • Marl (part of) – Grangetown
  • Victoria Park (part of) – Canton
  • College Road  (part of) – Llandaff North
  • Jellicoe Gardens  – Cyncoed

The new sites are in addition to the 24.5 hectares of native meadows, pollinator friendly and one cut sites already looked after by the council.

Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, Cllr Peter Bradbury said: “Every year we receive significantly more requests from residents for grass to be cut in their local parks and green spaces than we do to let these areas grow wild, but given the decline in pollinators which our food supplies depend on, it is important that the Council does the right thing and plays a part in helping to reverse the trend’’.

“It’s important to stress that this is not about saving money – any savings made will be negligible, but we have to look at the bigger picture and protect nature for the benefit of the planet and future generations.

“There is a balance to be struck though – our mowing regimes are determined by the characteristics of a particular area and what it’s used for, and we cannot compromise on highway safety issues, or leave residents without suitable green spaces nearby to walk their dogs or let their children play.

“These new sites will take time to flourish and establish themselves, but over time they will provide valuable habitats for wildlife as well as bringing colour and wildlife to these areas.

“These new areas are not the only steps we are taking to protect wildlife. Our contractors dilute the herbicide we use to its lowest possible level – only 0.00288 milligrams of every litre applied on council land is active ingredient, that’s 166 times less than EU guidelines. The dilution rate and the spot treatment technology used by our contractors mean we already use around 80% less herbicide compared to previous application methods throughout our roads and pavements, and following a review last year, 2020 will see us using 20% less herbicide in parks.”

“But there’s still more to do, we know that. That’s why, among other things, we will continue to look at areas where we can further reduce our use of herbicides, explore options for introducing more pollinator friendly sites in the future, and later this year we will also be publishing our One Planet Strategy which will address the multiple challenges posed by climate change and loss of biodiversity.”