There has been a long campaign to protect some of Devon’s more sensitive green spaces:
The campaign to encourage wild flowers on our roadside verges has been going on for some time:
Futures Forum: Devonshire hedgerows and verges – and national guidance on cutting (2013)
Futures Forum: Devonshire verges >>> extending wildflower projects across the county (2015)
Futures Forum: “Roadside verges are helping some of the rarest wildflowers in the UK survive, but are under siege, thanks to a combination of mismanagement and pollution” (2017)
The Herald reports on some real success just made:
This is what the County Council agreed to last week:
10 Point Green Action Plan
This council notes its resolution on declaring a climate emergency in Devon, in February.
This council notes also that officers launched the policy on wildflower verges earlier this month. Huge congratulations to the officers who helped bring this about.
The government has now declared a state of climate emergency across the UK, following the actions of Extinction Rebellion.
Climate change and other human activity is now causing species to decline at a rate unprecedented in human history, with three-quarters of land-based environments and two-thirds of the marine environment significantly altered.
Devon County Council, with its positive record on the environment is well placed to work with others to help mitigate the catastrophe coming our way.
Therefore, this council agrees to:
1. Call on the government to offer all pollinators full legal protection from harm
2. Write to all Devon outlets stocking bee harming pesticides, and urge them to permanently cancel their order with the suppliers
3. Take action to phase out all glyphosate pesticides used in council weed spraying or any other council related activity, by December 2019 (there may be exceptional circumstances such as dealing with specific non native species, such as Japanese knotweed)
4. Support Devon County Council tenant farmers in phasing out the use of inorganic fertilisers (such as nitrogen) by December 2023
5. Support Devon County Council tenant farmers in setting aside 10 per cent of their land for wildlife and/or wildflower mixes for pollinators
6. Work with community groups and non-government organisations such as Devon Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust to support Devon County Council tenant farmers to set aside five per cent of their land for tree planting
7. Work with community groups and non-government organisations such as Devon Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust on supporting town and parish councils, schools and community groups to set aside land for tree planting
8. Develop a policy on soil health good practice, with an emphasis on allowing land to recover and phasing out damaging chemicals, which are ultimately sterilising the land. This would include setting appropriate and reasonable targets for Devon County Council tenant farmers
9. Work with South West Water on a campaign to save water across the county, with an emphasis on education about future water scarcity. Specifically target town and parish councils, community groups and schools to raise awareness of the importance of good water practice
10. Support Devon Wildlife Trust’s campaign by calling on the Environment Secretary to allocate a further eight Marine Conservation Zones to Devon’s waters. Details can be found on the DWT website – https://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/take-action/marine-conservation-zones
And this is comment from Cllr Claire Wright, the Councillor who’s been pushing for action: