Plans to boost biodiversity across Worcester
More wildflowers and habitats to encourage insects and wildlife are on the way in parks, green spaces and cemeteries across Worcester as the City Council forges ahead with its pledge to boost biodiversity.
The City Council declared a biodiversity emergency three years ago, recognising that action needed to be taken immediately to stop the decline of native species.
Since then it has been looking to give nature a boost wherever possible and, in the last couple of years, has undertaken wildflower trials on roundabouts, roadside verges, parks and green spaces.
Much of the work being carried out is headed by the City Council's own Environmental Operations team, but the council also works with groups managing biodiverse areas of the city, including the Duckworth Trust, Worcester Environmental Group (WEG), the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and local residents' and community groups.
Creating new meadows and orchards are also high on the council's agenda and it has been working with WEG in creating almost two hectares of meadow and orchards at Aconbury Orchard. Other notable successes include Trotshill Field, which is believed to be the first in the city to have several southern marsh orchids.
The council's four premier parks – Gheluvelt, Cripplegate, Fort Royal and the Riverside - all have Green Flag status, and the management plan for each of them includes a section on biodiversity.
A report to the next week's Environment Committee meeting gives details of some of the next steps in the rollout of the biodiversity programme.
King George V Playing Fields now has its own management plan, with a large wildflower meadow area being planned for this year, together with plans for habitat enhancement with a specific aim of encouraging slow worms. The Council has also benefited from Natural Networks funding to enhance biodiversity and Cromwell Crescent Park has become a best practice model for the enhancement of biodiversity in a small park.
Thanks to its biodiversity enhancements within its grounds, Astwood Cemetery has been awarded Green Flag Status for a second year. The Council hopes to replicate this success at St John's Cemetery in next year's Green Flag awards. In 2024 Worcester City Council will also roll out biodiversity-boosting measures to five closed churchyards that it maintains.
Other plans for the current year include areas of wildflower seeding in the newly-renovated Meco Memorial Nature Park in St John's and the creation of a community orchard along its northern boundary.
Councillor Karen Lewing, chair of Worcester City Council's Environment Committee, said: "We have achieved some promising results so far in our efforts in managing nature in the city and it's vitally important that we continue this work to create wildlife corridors through the built-up urban environment. Our biodiversity programme is providing valuable habitats in which flora and fauna can flourish. We are pleased to see the progress that has been made but we must continue expanding this programme for the benefit of all."