At last Tuesday’s Full Council Meeting, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council unanimously agreed with a motion introduced by Cllr Donna Stimson (St Marys Ward) to:

  1. Less frequent mowing of verges to encourage wildlife-friendly grasses and flowers and of parks and open spaces to encourage biodiversity, while being cognizant of health and safety issues insofar as traffic is concerned

  2. The introduction of wildflowers to cheer up targeted barren sites within the Borough 

  3. The introduction of drought-resistant insect-friendly plants in key roadside areas.

The importance of wildflower-rich road verges has been widely reported in recent weeks; from coverage of the campaign on the BBC News website, local reports in Rotheram and Wrexham, radio shows in London, Wiltshire and Berkshire, to a call from The Guardian for your verge and meadow photos.

The Royal Botanical Gardens well establish the importance of wildflower meadows. British wildflowers are under threat, as are the pollinators that they feed, such as bees. The plight of these wildflowers has a genuine impact on the bees that they supply. Bees are in decline in the UK and wildflowers are incredibly diverse habitats, which are ideal for them.

Cllr Stimson said “This evening, I am putting forward a motion to tackle just one aspect of biodiversity – to address the way we manage our verges, open spaces, and barren sites. Biodiversity is the technical term for life on earth. It is a scientific measure of the variety of habitats and ecosystems across the planet. It is essential for human existence. As well as underpinning the food we eat and the air we breathe, we depend on biodiversity for protection from other threats, like pollution, flooding and climate breakdown.”

“Last month the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council declared an environment and climate emergency and passed a motion to reach carbon neutrality. As councillors, we are increasingly aware that almost everything we do has implications for sustainability. As the chair of the planning panel, I feel an enormous responsibility for this.”

During the debate Cllr Wisdom Da Costa said “It’s good to continue the debate about enhancing biodiversity being threatened with extinction due to human activity and climate change, after all, it is an Emergency but, we really should be looking at creating a Biodiversity Strategy which cuts across all areas of council operation especially planning, highways, transport, parks and green spaces, energy, construction & home building, procurement and disposal strategies but would also apply to education, adult services, social services and more.”

Cllr Simon Dudley (Riverside Ward) suggested that the motion as it stood should remain intact and that a working group would be set up to bring a paper to Full Council on the matter at a future meeting.