No Mow May for North Northamptonshire Council and beyond - right up until October

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North Northants Council is taking part in No Mow May but it won’t stop at the end of the month.

This year, instead of a blanket ‘no mowing in May’ across all areas of council-owned open spaces and highways network, the authority says it is taking a ‘more strategic look’ until the autumn.

Selected sites will be managed to increase sources of pollen and allow habitats to flourish while maintaining road safety and visibility, and continued public use of green spaces.

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No Mow May is an annual campaign of the Plantlife Charity which encourages people not to mow during May to help provide more food for pollinators like bees and butterflies.

North Northants Council is taking part in No Mow May and beyondNorth Northants Council is taking part in No Mow May and beyond
North Northants Council is taking part in No Mow May and beyond

NNC owns and manages many parks, opens spaces and roadside verges.

The council adopted a pollinator strategy in August 2022 which is now being delivered across council-owned parks and open spaces – the aims of which link into the themes of No Mow May.

The council says consideration has been given to areas of NNC’s green estate where significant areas of open space have been allocated to a less intensive and more harmonious programme of grass cutting.

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All open spaces which feature areas of longer grassed areas are left uncut throughout the growing season April to October, resulting in grassland meadow which benefits the environment while still allowing park users to utilise the spaces for other purposes.

More detail will be published on the council’s website highlighting the areas left uncut.

Verges provide important habitats for a variety of species of insects and animals across North Northants, the council are finding the right balance between natural habitats and road safety.

Verge cutting will be kept to a minimum across the rural network and other strategic areas but with safety sites still receiving a cut per month in May, July and September to maintain visibility for road users.

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Other roads will receive on average between one and three cuts between April and the end of September.

When cutting verges outside urban areas, NNC only cut a 1.2 metre swath width so most of the verge area is left uncut behind, this leaves a permanently untouched habitat for flora and fauna.

Shorter cut grass also has benefits for certain species which thrive in shorter cut grass areas so it is important that variety is in place across North Northants.

Cllr Harriet Pentland, the council’s executive member for climate and green environment, said: “We are proud to be once again taking part in No Mow May, alongside our ever popular Pardon the Weeds campaign which has run in parts of North Northants since 2020.

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“There are at least 1,500 species of insect pollinators in the UK, but unfortunately pollinators face many pressures including habitat loss.

“Taking part in No Mow May is key to helping create habitats for wildflowers and wildlife to thrive.

“But it’s not just about one month a year, our pollinator strategy is in operation 365 days a year and is a green thread running through our parks and ground team’s work.”

Cllr Matt Binley, the council’s executive member for highways, travel and assets, said: “It is great that we are taking part in No Mow May and will be officially recording the number and areas of pollinator habitat left uncut so that we can be included in the national picture.

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“Consideration is consistently given to all areas of NNC’s green estate and areas and so all open spaces which feature longer areas of grassed areas are left uncut throughout the growing season April to October, allowing for grassland meadows to grow and flourish.”

Council leader Jason Smithers said: “All of the council work we do is about balance.

"With this in mind, alongside now mowing areas of parks, open spaces and verges, we are also considering the safety of road users.

"Our team have put in place a careful plan to ensure that we are creating vital habitats for pollinators while maintaining visibility and keeping verges passable for pedestrians.”

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