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Supporting biodiversity and reducing the impact of climate change

Published: 01/11/2021

Ashford Borough Council have set out how they will increase biodiversity within council owed green spaces by introducing a variety of habitats and varying maintenance regimes.

The creation of more meadows and enhanced Land Management Plans across the borough, will benefit wildlife, improve the wellbeing of our residents by connecting them with nature as well as continuing to maintain our open spaces in a way that promotes a sense of place and space.

The council’s in-house landscape management service, Aspire are proposing to make some changes to selected areas of land they manage including introducing areas of uncut grass for meadow creation.

This will not be a “one size fits all” approach, with some areas continuing to see high levels of horticulture for aesthetics and borough presentation.

Aspire will produce Land Management Plans for areas, and explore other opportunities for increasing bio-diversity over time, such as ongoing street and urban tree planting, the introduction of wild flower seed to uncut areas and the planting of hedgerows.

Cllr Andrew Buchanan, portfolio holder for environment and land management at Ashford Borough Council, said: “It is a great opportunity to carefully select areas to alter land management plans, developing biodiversity and engaging and educating our residents about the changes and the benefits.

“Never have our green spaces been more important to our community and never have we had a greater opportunity to bring our residents on the journey with us as we improve and enhance our open spaces, to ensure we leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.”

This follows a successful pilot in Queen’s Mother’s Park over the past six months where an ecological management plan for the enhancement of bio-diversity was developed.

We received very positive responses from residents, especially around the good mix of cutting regimes, supporting increased biodiversity while still allowing usage for people, with a large area of amenity space maintained as “kick about area” and cut pathways throughout the meadow areas for dog walking.

The Government set out its plan for improving the natural environment with its 25 Year Environment Plan in 2018. ‘By using our land more sustainably and creating new habitats for wildlife, including by planting more trees, we can arrest the decline in native species and improve our biodiversity.’

The importance of increasing biodiversity within the borough is reflected in the council’s draft Corporate Plan, through objective GP1 “Green Pioneer” which sets out to increase biodiversity within our borough and encourage sustainable lifestyles.