Wildflower and Grassland Strategy 2020 - Summary

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The Wildflower and Grassland Strategy is one of three related Environmental Management Strategies along with the Parks and Greenspaces Strategy and the Play Strategy.

The Wildflower and Grassland Strategy provides a framework for improving the biodiversity, abundance and connectivity of wildflower and grassland habitat within Council-managed land, for the benefit of both people and wildlife, and in particular, pollinators. It also provides advice on gardening for wildlife and pollinators.

Initial consultation undertaken in summer 2020 with employees of Cheshire West and Chester Council, ward members, town/parish councils, service provides and community organisations, has shown a huge amount of support for altering mowing regimes and the creation of wildflower areas. A summary of the results is provided in Section 4 of the Wildflower and Grassland Strategy.

Strategy Overview

The Wildflower and Grassland Strategy is comprised of two "Tiers" of documents:

  • Tier 1 (this report) provides the strategic overview at the borough level, including: setting the policy context; setting out the importance of wildflower grasslands and pollinators; best practice management specifications; case studies; an overview of initial consultation results; opportunities for improving and prioritising management to increase the biodiversity of grassland and pollinator habitat on council land; recommendations for wildlife friendly gardening; and an action plan.

  • Tier 2 provides more detailed information regarding potential opportunities for wildflower and grassland management by Locality Area, drawing on the information provided in Tier 1.

This summary provides an overview of Tier 1 of the strategy.

Aims and principles of the Strategy

  • The focus of the Strategy is on the Council’s management of it’s own land (grassland), However it also considers the importance of planning policy/development management in contributing to the aims of the strategy, as well as the management of private gardens.

  • The strategy also aims to increase awareness and improve knowledge and understanding of the climate and nature emergency, and the importance of biodiversity, wildflower grasslands and insect pollinators among the local community.

  • The Strategy will help to demonstrate the Council’s commitment to biodiversity and help to fulfil their legal duty to conserve and enhance biodiversity in exercising their functions, whilst also contributing towards the delivery of key priorities and objectives outlined in national and local policy and strategies, including the National Pollinator Strategy. It will also help the Council deliver the priorities of their Council Plan 2020-2024.

  • Wildflower and grassland management will be planned in line with co-production principles to help break down barriers between people who use services, people who provide services, and people who design services. Consultation and engagement with the community is recognised as essential in the planning and delivery of the management and creation of wildflower and grassland areas on council land.

Structure of the Strategy

The Wildflower and Grassland Strategy is set out under the following headings:

  • Introduction (includes overview and aims and objectives).
  • The Importance of Wildflower Grassland and Pollinators (includes information regarding the nature and climate emergency, ecosystem services provided by grassland, and what pollinators need).
  • Strategic Context (includes a review of relevant policy and strategy and a national and local level).
  • Review of Initial Consultation (provides a summary of the consultation undertaken in Summer 2020).
  • Best Practice Management Guidelines (Provides a summary of Plantlife’s Managing Grassland Road Verges, a best practice guide (September 2019) management specifications, bought seed mixes for soil types, and managing gardens for wildlife and pollinators).
  • Pollinator and Wildflower Projects and Case Studies (provides examples of existing national and local projects, campaigns and programmes of relevance to the Strategy, and highlights wildflower and grassland management across three case studies).
  • Management of Council Land (provides an overview of the Council’s land, and outlines options for improving the biodiversity of council grassland, as well as opportunities for prioritising the management of council land, and the potential for cost savings).
  • Planning Policy and Development (sets out how planning and development can protect and enhance biodiversity and pollinator habitat).
  • Funding Opportunities (provides an overview of potential external funding opportunities relating to the management and creation of pollinator habitat, which also includes tree and shrub planting).
  • Monitoring and Implementation (provides an overview of how both grassland management actions and the strategy itself will be monitored and implemented).
  • Action Plan (long term, medium term, short term and ongoing actions are linked to the Council Plan priorities and are set out under 4 areas: strategic; planning and development; council managed land; and delivering the plan and measuring progress).

Tier 2 Locality Area Frameworks

The Locality Area Frameworks supply provides more detailed information regarding potential opportunities for wildflower and grassland management by Locality Area, drawing on the information provided in Tier 1.

This includes consideration of how sites/areas might be prioritised for management e.g. proximity to designated sites and allotments, and provides examples of open spaces which could be improved, as well as the management of grassland to provide wildlife ‘highways’, improving connectivity for wildlife/pollinators.

The Tier 2 Frameworks do not provide an extensive list of sites/areas for hay cutting or wildflower meadow creation – it is expected that these would be decided with the community and stakeholders through adopting a co-production approach.

The Wildflower and Grassland Strategy is one of three related Environmental Management Strategies along with the Parks and Greenspaces Strategy and the Play Strategy.

The Wildflower and Grassland Strategy provides a framework for improving the biodiversity, abundance and connectivity of wildflower and grassland habitat within Council-managed land, for the benefit of both people and wildlife, and in particular, pollinators. It also provides advice on gardening for wildlife and pollinators.

Initial consultation undertaken in summer 2020 with employees of Cheshire West and Chester Council, ward members, town/parish councils, service provides and community organisations, has shown a huge amount of support for altering mowing regimes and the creation of wildflower areas. A summary of the results is provided in Section 4 of the Wildflower and Grassland Strategy.

Strategy Overview

The Wildflower and Grassland Strategy is comprised of two "Tiers" of documents:

  • Tier 1 (this report) provides the strategic overview at the borough level, including: setting the policy context; setting out the importance of wildflower grasslands and pollinators; best practice management specifications; case studies; an overview of initial consultation results; opportunities for improving and prioritising management to increase the biodiversity of grassland and pollinator habitat on council land; recommendations for wildlife friendly gardening; and an action plan.

  • Tier 2 provides more detailed information regarding potential opportunities for wildflower and grassland management by Locality Area, drawing on the information provided in Tier 1.

This summary provides an overview of Tier 1 of the strategy.

Aims and principles of the Strategy

  • The focus of the Strategy is on the Council’s management of it’s own land (grassland), However it also considers the importance of planning policy/development management in contributing to the aims of the strategy, as well as the management of private gardens.

  • The strategy also aims to increase awareness and improve knowledge and understanding of the climate and nature emergency, and the importance of biodiversity, wildflower grasslands and insect pollinators among the local community.

  • The Strategy will help to demonstrate the Council’s commitment to biodiversity and help to fulfil their legal duty to conserve and enhance biodiversity in exercising their functions, whilst also contributing towards the delivery of key priorities and objectives outlined in national and local policy and strategies, including the National Pollinator Strategy. It will also help the Council deliver the priorities of their Council Plan 2020-2024.

  • Wildflower and grassland management will be planned in line with co-production principles to help break down barriers between people who use services, people who provide services, and people who design services. Consultation and engagement with the community is recognised as essential in the planning and delivery of the management and creation of wildflower and grassland areas on council land.

Structure of the Strategy

The Wildflower and Grassland Strategy is set out under the following headings:

  • Introduction (includes overview and aims and objectives).
  • The Importance of Wildflower Grassland and Pollinators (includes information regarding the nature and climate emergency, ecosystem services provided by grassland, and what pollinators need).
  • Strategic Context (includes a review of relevant policy and strategy and a national and local level).
  • Review of Initial Consultation (provides a summary of the consultation undertaken in Summer 2020).
  • Best Practice Management Guidelines (Provides a summary of Plantlife’s Managing Grassland Road Verges, a best practice guide (September 2019) management specifications, bought seed mixes for soil types, and managing gardens for wildlife and pollinators).
  • Pollinator and Wildflower Projects and Case Studies (provides examples of existing national and local projects, campaigns and programmes of relevance to the Strategy, and highlights wildflower and grassland management across three case studies).
  • Management of Council Land (provides an overview of the Council’s land, and outlines options for improving the biodiversity of council grassland, as well as opportunities for prioritising the management of council land, and the potential for cost savings).
  • Planning Policy and Development (sets out how planning and development can protect and enhance biodiversity and pollinator habitat).
  • Funding Opportunities (provides an overview of potential external funding opportunities relating to the management and creation of pollinator habitat, which also includes tree and shrub planting).
  • Monitoring and Implementation (provides an overview of how both grassland management actions and the strategy itself will be monitored and implemented).
  • Action Plan (long term, medium term, short term and ongoing actions are linked to the Council Plan priorities and are set out under 4 areas: strategic; planning and development; council managed land; and delivering the plan and measuring progress).

Tier 2 Locality Area Frameworks

The Locality Area Frameworks supply provides more detailed information regarding potential opportunities for wildflower and grassland management by Locality Area, drawing on the information provided in Tier 1.

This includes consideration of how sites/areas might be prioritised for management e.g. proximity to designated sites and allotments, and provides examples of open spaces which could be improved, as well as the management of grassland to provide wildlife ‘highways’, improving connectivity for wildlife/pollinators.

The Tier 2 Frameworks do not provide an extensive list of sites/areas for hay cutting or wildflower meadow creation – it is expected that these would be decided with the community and stakeholders through adopting a co-production approach.