Major boost for havens

WORK to create new wildlife havens across Northumberland is under way thanks to a major funding boost.

The county council’s Growing Wild project, which aims to create a network of wildlife-rich amenity grassland, has received a grant of £59,314 from the SITA Trust.

Residents will be involved in determining suitable areas where the scheme would be most effective.

They will grow into wildflower meadows and these sites will attract a range of insects such as bees and butterflies.

Council Executive Member for Highways and Neighbourhood Services Alan Thompson said: “We want to see our green areas becoming more self-sustaining and to develop natural habitats for flowers and insects wherever this is appropriate.

“This funding will help us to increase the biodiversity value of areas of grassland across Northumberland.”

The authority will also be able to change the traditional management technique of carrying out regular cutting throughout the spring and summer growing season on some of its amenity grassland.

Volunteers from Northumberland Wildlife Trust will help officers prepare sites for the introduction of wildflower seed and also survey them to see how many different flowers have become established.

Elaine More, one of the organisation’s Conservation Officers, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the County Council on creating wildflower rich areas of grassland in more urban areas.

“Through our work, sites will see an increase in bees and other pollinating insects, which are vital to the production of the vast majority of the fruits and vegetables we need.

“Every little bit of nectar-rich planting will make a difference.”

Wildflower seed will be sourced from local farmers to ensure that it is able to cope with the weather conditions that the county usually experiences.

SITA Trust has provided more than £85million in funding through the Landfill Communities Fund since 1997.