Councils urged to cut grass in parks less often to help bees

A bumblebee collecting nectar from a flower. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

A bumblebee collecting nectar from a flower. Photo: Nick Ansell/PA Wire - Credit: PA

More than four-fifths of people would back their local council cutting the grass in parks and roadside verges less often to provide more flowers for bees, a survey suggests.

A poll for Buglife and Friends of the Earth found 81pc of the 1,643 polled supported a move to mow some areas less often to allow wildflowers to grow, providing food for bees and other pollinating insects.

The bee-friendly measure would also save councils money, the conservation groups argue, with some local authorities already saving thousands of pounds every year by reducing grass-cutting.

The survey by YouGov also revealed almost two-thirds (63pc) agreed local authorities should be doing more to help bees while 88% of people supported councils reducing the use of 'bee-harming pesticides'.

Even more people (92pc) supported councils planting more wildflowers and wildlife-friendly plants in local parks and green spaces.

Buglife and Friends of the Earth are urging councils to do more to help bees, many species of which in decline in the face of threats including the loss of flower meadows and pesticides used in farming.

The green groups have published a new guide for local authorities on the measures they can take to help pollinators.

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Friends of the Earth chief executive Craig Bennett said: 'Local councils have a vital part to play in helping the UK's under-threat bee populations.

'Policies, such as allowing grass to grow on roadside verges and in certain areas in parks, will help bees, save cash-strapped councils money and are supported by the public too.'

Dr Paul Evans, lead pollinator adviser at Buglife, said: 'We are not advocating abandoning areas of council land, but introducing a new less-intensive form of grassland management.

'Effectively cutting grass less in the right places will not only help to counter pollinator decline, it will benefit wildlife and people too.'