East Suffolk Council's Pardon the Weeds campaign extends from Felixstowe

  Posted: 10.06.21 at 17:08 by Jason Noble (local democracy reporter)

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A Suffolk authority which has designated spaces for ‘re-wilding’ to help insects and pollinators thrive has extended its biodiversity efforts — and is challenging people to give it a go in their own gardens.

East Suffolk Council’s Pardon the Weeds campaign has seen 100 areas of the district left for wildflowers to thrive as part of efforts to boost pollinator and insect communities.

Now, the authority has created wildflower borders at its Melton base, along with a host of bird boxes, pond and an insect hotel.

James Mallinder, Conservative cabinet member for the environment said the plan was to encourage people to do the same — “to educate, encourage and to show an example”.

“Pardon the Weeds has been so successful because it shows what we are doing,” he said.

“We are not cutting less because of cutbacks, we are doing it to support the bees. It is a really simple message and people support that.

“It’s trying to show leadership. We are trying to say — we are doing it, why can’t you?

“The border at the front of the office, although quite a simple thing to do, has a big impact. Not only visually but also explains to people across East Suffolk we care and are making a difference. If we are doing it, why don’t you do it in your communities?”

Mr Mallinder said the Covid-19 lockdowns had helped people appreciate their gardens, parks and green spaces more, and hopes people will be inspired by those spaces to build on their biodiversity measures.

As such, East Suffolk Council created a programme called Nature First, which has included the expansion of the Pardon the Weeds campaign from 40 to 100 areas, reduced the spraying of glyphosate — a type of herbicide — by around 45%, and designated parts of council-owned cemeteries for wild flowers among other things.

It is hoped that schools, hospitals, public service facilities and other organisations will all take up the challenge to provide designated areas for re-wilding.

Mr Mallinder added: “With biodiversity, examples of improvement quickly show you that you get reward for doing something. Not only is it visually really beautiful to see – I see people stop and taking photos — but it has a biodiversity impact.

“If we all do something it is the key — small changes make a big difference.”

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