How a Harborough district village is striving hard to boost its flora and fauna as part of a 'wildflower revolution'

It is one of 12 parish councils in Leicestershire to sign up to the county council blueprint

By Red Williams
Friday, 7th August 2020, 12:39 pm
Updated Friday, 7th August 2020, 12:46 pm
Cllr Blake Pain, Parish Councillors Janet Earwaker and Tina Mcdonagh, and Cllr Trevor Pendleton at Fleckney's wild flower verge.
Cllr Blake Pain, Parish Councillors Janet Earwaker and Tina Mcdonagh, and Cllr Trevor Pendleton at Fleckney's wild flower verge.

A village in the Harborough district is striving hard to boost its flora and fauna after helping to launch a new eco initiative.

Fleckney Parish Council is working with Leicestershire County Council to encourage the biodiversity of local roadsides by creating wildflower verges.

The county council’s lauded green scheme aims to improve biodiversity and help wildlife by leaving wildflowers to flourish on roadside verges across Leicestershire.

The project is part of the council’s wider work to tackle climate change and commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Fleckney parish councillor Tina McDonagh said: “We are keen to work with residents to shape how our village looks.

“These wildflowers will be a great habitat for species such as insects and hedgehogs.”

She added: “Wildflower seeds were sown in March - and some have germinated this year.

“We will cut the grass in August and prepare the site over winter for the verge to be in full bloom next year.”

Fleckney in Harborough is one of 12 parish councils in Leicestershire to sign up to the county council blueprint.

The dozen are working hard planting and cultivating verges for their new wildflower verges to bloom next year.

Residents interested in joining the wild flower verge scheme can contact the team on: [email protected]

Cllr Trevor Pendleton, the county council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, visited Fleckney's wild flower verge with Cllr Blake Pain, cabinet member for environment and member for the Fleckney area.

“We take our climate and environmental responsibilities seriously.

“These new, more natural verges will encourage the growth of a range of wildflowers and provide habitats for wildlife to thrive,” said Cllr Pendleton.

“We are really pleased that areas like Fleckney are willing to try out this new way of managing our roadways and want to improve the biodiversity of their communities.

“This verge doesn’t look much now but it is already providing vital habitats.

“We hope to work with many more parishes on this initiative in the future.”

As well the wild flower initiative the county council has changed the management of rural verges between towns and villages.

This year marked the largest reduction in the areas of rural verges the county council have cut, all to allow wildflowers to thrive and encourage pollinators.

“Our priority will always be the safest possible use of our Leicestershire roads.

“There will always be verges that need to be cut in order to ensure the grass does not impede the vision of drivers,” stressed Cllr Pendleton.

“If anyone in Leicestershire believes an area of road is being cut that does not need to be I urge them to discuss with their parish council the possibility of a wild flower verge.”

Residents can check when their grass will be cut in their towns and villages on the interactive grass cutting map on the county council website: https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/road-maintenance/grass-cutting#FAQThe vast majority of highway verges are the responsibility of the county council – but some are privately owned while a few are managed by contractors on the county’s behalf.