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Green power is on its way to Dorchester

Green space Dorchester

12:05pm 15th May 2018

Green power is on the way to Dorchester’s parks, gardens and other open spaces.

The Town Council, which runs many of the open spaces in the town is about to adopt a series of policies which are friendly to plants, animals and insects.

The town could see more wildflower areas, bat and bird boxes and ‘green corridors’ – as well as measures to protect the town’s hedgehog population.

But while pesticide solutions to plant control will be mostly ruled out the town will fall short of a complete ban.

Outdoor Services Manager Carl Dallison says that there still might be times when his staff will be forced to look to chemical, rather than natural, solutions.

“There will always be a chance that we might have to still use pesticides, but it will always be as a last resort,” he said.

The town’s new biodiversity strategy will see council staff collaborate with volunteer organisations including the Friends of the Borough Gardens, Dorset Wildlife Trust, People Need Nature and other groups and individuals.

Wildflower areas have already been developed in some areas – notably Poundbury Cemetery, with parts of the Weymouth Avenue cemetery likely to follow suit. There could also be ‘softer’ landscaping at some of the many play areas the town council runs, including Sandringham.

Work has already been carried out at John’s Pond and the nearby Mill Stream and Riverside Reserve to encourage wildlife, including otters.

At Maumbury Rings an ongoing project is trying to reinstate the wildflowers which were lost after the monument was no longer grazed by sheep – ironically the poorer the soil, the better it is for many wildflower species.

Town councillors at the management committee were universally welcoming of the plan, developed mainly by Mr Dallison.

“The big challenge we have is that there’s a relatively small footprint with a large number of people,” he said, praising the volunteers who already play a part in keeping the town ‘green.’

He said that more could be done for wildlife in the town’s cemeteries but acknowledged that it may be difficult to find a balance which meets the wishes of relatives.

Cllr Molly Rennie said the biodiversity plan ought to involve a consultation with residents living near the town’s green areas, including those play areas which had recently been identified as possible housing sites – the plan for which was later dropped after public protests.

“It would be nice for residents to suggest what they would like to see…wildflowers, for example, might be great for some sites, but not suitable for areas where people’s gardens might be affected by windblown seeds.”

The plan is being recommended for approval at the next full meeting of the town council.

By Local Democracy Reporter, Trevor Bevins


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