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County Council needs to do more to increase Kent's wildflower verges

October 23, 2019 9:01 AM

Earlier this year Kent County Council gave unanimous support for a plan to protect and increase the habitats for bees and other pollinators. These are vital for plants and food production. The plan proposed planting more wildflowers, including on our highway verges. These good intentions have to be translated into positive action across Kent as a matter of urgency. WildflowerVerge

Kent County Councillor Trudy DeanAt last week's County Council meeting Trudy Dean, Lib Dem county councillor for Malling Central, pressed the Cabinet Member on what steps Kent County Council was taking to encourage the planting of wildflower verges. The response was less than helpful, indicating that the County Council is still not taking the positive steps which were promised earlier.

Trudy Dean commented afterwards. "We know that the numbers of bees and other pollinators are in serious decline. This will soon have severe consequences for much of Kent's agriculture unless the decline can be reversed.

"Planting wildflowers is a key step towards improving pollinator-friendly habitats, and our highway verges are the perfect place to start. Local people are coming forward to set up local schemes, but they will need practical help and advice. I gave KCC the opportunity to provide a simple fast track guide to setting up a scheme, and the dusty response received is pretty useless ... no names, phone numbers, website links or volunteer group contact details.

"If this is how KCC recruits volunteers, we aren't going to be making much progress any time soon."

Trudy Dean's question and the response received are set out below:

Question by Trudy Dean to Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport & Waste

"Following the formal adoption of the Pollinator Action Plan at July's County Council, could the Cabinet Member please advise how local groups wishing to help establish wildflower rich verges should go about doing so and what support the County Council will provide them with?"

Answer

"If local groups have identified sites that they feel would make good wildflower verges and they would like to become involved, then they should contact our Highway Soft Landscape team. The team can discuss the proposals for each site and possible maintenance changes as well as reviewing the site with our partners Kent Wildlife Trust and the Bee Conservation Trust."