West Swindon Parish Council

Why we need wildflower meadows.

Meadows and grasslands are an intrinsic part of British agriculture and our daily lives. Britain’s countryside was a vastly different place 100 years ago. Over 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930’s, a staggering 7.5 million acres.

A meadow remains an important and crucial habitat with over 150 different species of flower that support a myriad of insects from bees and beetles to grasshoppers and butterflies, which in turn support many small animals and birds. I have noticed this year a sharp decline in bluetits, our national population of bluetit require 35 billion caterpillars to feed their young, this year loss of habitat and a wet spring has seen caterpillar numbers fall dramatically.

I can remember in summer walking in traditionally managed, flower-rich meadows alive with brightly coloured wild-flowers, buzzing and chirping insects. My worry is future generations will not have that joy and their mental health suffer. Our aim should be that everyone can experience wildflower meadows in all their summer glory. It is worth remembering that wildflower meadows were once present in every parish in the country.

Many cities have created wildflower meadows including Sheffield, Birmingham and Liverpool, indeed Liverpool reported that in all the areas they re-introduced wildflower meadows they saw a 77% reduction in anti-social behaviour. Wildflower meadows also provide active involvement of the local community in managing the site and opportunities for education and recreation.

Cllr Mike Burtenshaw


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