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Boosting biodiversity through smarter grass cutting

With warmer temperatures averaging 17 degrees, May is the month when grass grows the fastest in the UK, often called the ‘spring flush’ by gardeners.

It’s also the month for No Mow May, a national campaign which encourages people not to mow their gardens for the month in order to encourage wildflowers and boost biodiversity.

Milton Keynes City Council’s ‘garden’ is 10 million square metres of grassland around the city. We balance biodiversity with road safety, so you’ll still notice us mowing in some areas during May as we cut sight lines along the edge of grid roads and roundabouts. All play areas, play parks and recreational areas will be maintained as standard. We aim to mow this grass every three to four weeks, although this does vary if the weather is too wet to mow. We’re currently mid-way through our second cut of the year. Rural verges, grass on roadsides between villages, are mown 3 times per year again focusing on only mowing where necessary for safety.

However, these days we make a conscious effort to mow a smaller area in these and other public spaces to help the city’s wildflowers grow, which increases biodiversity as part of our wider work to tackle climate change. We’ve seeded additional wildflowers around the city, and more than 1,000 pollinating species such as bees and beetles are already benefitting from our work to increase wildflower verges and meadows. So, if you spot slightly longer grass and more wildflowers than you might expect in public green spaces, it’s typically there for a reason.

“Wildflowers provide food, shelter and places to breed for insects, and the insects themselves then provide more plentiful food for creatures up the chain, such as birds, bats, and amphibians. This time of year is a really important time for wildflowers to get a foothold so they can feed pollinators over the summer, so if you have a garden, please think about allowing your lawn to grow that little bit longer this month, or zone off a ‘wildflower area’. By doing so you’ll be playing an important part in our city’s biodiversity.” - Cabinet Member for the Public Realm, Cllr Lauren Townsend


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