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Boosting Biodiversity

Our commitment to enhancing biodiversity

In 2020 Worcester City Council declared a biodiversity emergency, recognising that action needed to be taken immediately to stop the decline of our native species.

The Environment Act 2021 introduced a strengthened ‘biodiversity duty’. Public authorities who operate in England must consider what they can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity in England. The strengthened duty means that the Council must:

  • Consider what it can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity.
  • Agree policies and specific objectives based on that consideration.
  • Act to deliver those policies and achieve those objectives

The Committee Report agreed at Environment Committee in November 2023 agreed an initial action plan to respond to the new requirements under the Environment Act, including the biodiversity net gain requirements for developers.

Over the past few years we have worked to enhance biodiversity across all parks and open spaces managed by the City Council, by:

  1. Creating more wildflower meadows around the city
  2. Maximising the tree canopy across the city
  3. Enhancing biodiversity at Astwood and St John’s Cemeteries
  4. Enhancing biodiversity at allotment sites
  5. Working in partnership with local groups including:

One key change has been our approach to grass and shrub trimming. It is well established that there are significant benefits to biodiversity by reducing the length and frequency that grass is cut during certain months. Leaving the grass allows the grass to seed, and wildflowers to grow attracting pollinators, creating a micro-climate for bug life.

With this in mind, in some areas, we leave patches of long grass or seed with wildflowers or leave patches to rewild. In many areas, we only trim the edges of grass verges, which ensures motorists have a clear view, but also allows flora and fauna to flourish in the longer grass behind.

Wild Flowers on Croft Road

King George V Playing Fields now has its own management plan, with a large wildflower meadow area being planned, together with plans for habitat enhancement with a specific aim to encourage slow worms.

Five closed churchyards in the city are currently maintained by Worcester City Council and in the future biodiversity-boosting measures will be rolled out to these sites too.

Other plans for this year include areas of wildflower seeding in the newly-renovated Meco Memorial Nature Park along with a community orchard.

If you’re interested in exploring biodiversity in Worcester, there are several wildlife sites that are managed by the Conservation team.

The Council hasn’t used peat for ten years. Compost bays are in use at all our parks so that garden waste can be composted and the compost used on flower beds as mulch and as a soil improver for the annual bedding.

Five of our parks and green spaces have achieved ‘Green Flag’ status, the latest being Astwood Cemetery. Find out more about what it means to be Green Flag accredited.

The grounds at Astwood include a natural burial area, which is managed using techniques that promote wildflower growth across the whole site, which also has bat boxes, bird boxes, mammal hides, a solar-lit brook and even beehives to encourage flora and fauna.

The grounds also include a Covid Memorial area called the Forget You Not Garden. In its centre is a stone postbox designed to look like a beehive and visitors are invited to write messages to their loved ones on notelets made from recycled paper and infused with wildflower seeds, and then post them into the letterbox. In due course, the notelets will be planted into the garden, allowing the wildflowers to grow and become a lasting memorial.

The Wild about Worcester Way

Worcester Environmental Group, in collaboration with Worcester City Council, have established a way-marked route around Worcester, helping residents to explore green spaces in the city, learn about nature and to improve their physical and mental health. This route is also a ‘wildlife corridor’, promoting an increase in biodiversity and protection of the environment.

They also have some great videos exploring the Wild about Worcester Way and all of the biodiversity that can be found along the route.

Tree Planting

Not only do trees play an important in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere but increased tree canopy has been shown to provide numerous benefits from climate change adaptation to providing significant mental health benefits.

Read more information about the benefits of tree canopy cover.

Brett D'Oliveira, Worcestershire County Cricket Club Captain, will help to plant a series of Jubilee trees to restore an Edwardian Avenue at Worcester Racecourse

If you have access to outdoor space, we encourage you to plant a tree!

If you have a biodiversity project you can apply for Natural Networks funding through Worcestershire County Council.