“WE are in a nature emergency and now, more than ever, we must support our precious wildlife.”

That was the message from Climate Change Minister Julie James on International Day of Biodiversity as she issued a reminder of how small steps, like reducing how often grass is cut, can enhance green spaces.

Biodiversity underpins all robust ecosystems – but it is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history. One in six species assessed in Wales are at risk of extinction.

Changing how often road verges and grasslands are mowed can create more native wildflower-rich meadows, producing healthy biodiversity which is essential to wellbeing.

Speaking on a visit to Golf Road in New Inn, Pontypool, where residents have embraced reduced mowing, Julie James said:

“We are in a nature emergency and now, more than ever, we must support our precious wildlife and build more resilience to changes to our environment.

“Regularly mown grass may look tidy, but it has little benefit for nature. By simply changing these practices, we can help create a better habitat for all kinds of animals and insects while storing more carbon in our soils which will help mitigate against climate change.

“What the people of Golf Road have achieved is wonderful. Despite some initial nervousness, they have really stepped up to the challenge. It’s the kind of example we’d like to see followed across all parts of Wales.’’

Torfaen County Borough is home to more than 120 sites where routine mowing has been reduced and wildflowers encouraged to grow as the Welsh Government works with local authorities and communities to make road verges and grasslands more wildlife friendly through changing cutting practices.

Veronika Brannovic, Local Nature Partnership Coordinator at Torfaen County Borough Council said:

“The changes to mowing practices across the county borough have already shown that, even in small spaces, we can make a difference for wildlife and for wellbeing.

“We are seeing an increase in wildflowers, insects and other species and we are planning to expand the programme each year to maximise the benefits already seen and help to adapt to the effects of climate change”.

By Gwynoro Jones

Former MP for Carmarthenshire, Gwynoro Jones joined the team covering politics in Wales. He has a wealth of experience in politics and has been a regular commentator on radio, TV and in newspapers in Wales. Email: gwynorojones@walesnewsonline.com

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