If you visit one of Somerset West and Taunton’s (SWT) open spaces you may come across some areas where the grass has been left to grow longer. These are areas that the grass cutting teams have purposely left to help create a better habitat for local wildlife.
While there are areas across the district that have to be cut to specified standards in line with maintenance obligations, SWT recognises the habitat and wildlife benefits of long grass in providing vital shelter for invertebrates to breed, protecting and improving biodiversity and supporting pollinator species.
The long grass initiative is part of the Council’s commitment to climate and environmental responsibility – SWT declared an ecological emergency in October 2020 complementing the climate emergency declaration made in February 2019.
It expands on the Wildflower Meadow Project launched last year, where SWT began creating species-rich wildflower meadows within open spaces.
This year, the Council has sown a further 60kg of wildflower seed, and has also set aside wild areas in its Green Flag accredited parks at Taunton’s Vivary, Victoria, Comeytrowe and French Weir, Wellington Park and Swains Lane Nature Reserve in Wellington and Blenheim Gardens in Minehead.
Executive Member for Environmental Services, Cllr Andy Sully, said: “Leaving the grass long where we can will, over time, improve biodiversity, encourage wild flower species to establish and help create new habitats for threatened species.
“These areas of long grass together with our project to create wildflower meadows are more important than they have ever been as we fight climate change and try to mitigate the loss of wildflowers meadows across the country over the years.”
Further information on the habitat and wildlife benefits of long grass can be found here
Further information on the Wildflower Meadow Project can be found here