It has been widely reported that the biodiversity of insects is threatened worldwide with over 40% of insect species threatened with extinction. If insect numbers continue to decrease at the current rate it will have a catastrophic effect on both the planet’s ecosystems and in turn, the survival of mankind. The Biological Conservation journal (April 2019 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320718313636) reported that habitat loss is the main driver of the declines, with pesticide use also being a significant factor.
As such, many councils throughout the UK - Rotherham, Sheffield, and Kettering to name but a few, have adopted the use of wildflower verges plus no-mow strategies throughout their boroughs in order to encourage insect life. In Kettering, they branded their scheme "Pardon the Weeds, we are feeding the bees" communicating to residents/visitors with this simple slogan.
We believe that it is imperative that Stockport council take up a similar scheme to provide habitats for insect life in order to prevent further decline.
Aside from assisting biodiversity, the benefits of adopting such a scheme are wide-ranging, including improving the appearance of the often mundane verges at little cost, with the potential to save tens of thousands of pounds in mowing costs. Moreover, a good campaign has the opportunity to be educational and if done properly there is a possibility that many residents may mirror this in their own gardens. Mark Fellowes, a professor of ecology at the University of Reading reported on the importance of biodiversity in UK gardens by pointing out that, "the land taken up by gardens in the UK is greater than the area of all our national nature reserves...Everyone with outside space, can become a nature reserve manager [and] affect biodiversity where [they] live.” (Guardian 12 May 2020 "More birds and bees, please! 12 easy, expert ways to rewild your garden").
Regarding pesticides, The Biological Conservation journal
reports that rethinking the use of pesticides and substituting with more sustainable/ecological based practices "is urgently needed to slow or reverse current [declining insect] trends, allow the recovery of declining insect populations and safeguard the vital ecosystem services they provide."
Lastly, implementing no-mow strategies on these verges and in other areas throughout the borough, prevents further destruction of habitats, so we ask that the council look into adopting this in spaces throughout the borough. Evidence of no-mow and thriving insect life can be seen in some areas already, although more communication from council on this subject and their strategy, would be welcome.
This ePetition runs from 18/06/2020 to 18/10/2020.
118 people have signed this ePetition.