Verge of Victory

Oxford City Council votes unanimously to pass the motion 'Going wild!'

Cowley News Cowley News has conducted a survey asking local residents ‘Would you like to see Managed Rewilding of Grass Verges in Oxford’? The results were:

Yes, I would                   284 people (94%)

No, I wouldn’t              16 people

I don’t know                  1 person

Working closely with Oxford City Council’s Parks Group and portfolio holder Cllr Linda Smith, Florence Park’s bio-diversity group are proposing to introduce a pilot scheme on the two verges in front of Florence Park gates on Cornwallis Road and a further pilot on The Grates. The verges were left uncut for several weeks during the pandemic., resulting in a burst of wild flowers that raised a number of questions about their current maintenance practice.

As part of the formal consultation Cowley News will be running a follow-up poll, and Cllr David Henwood will be conducting door-to-door surveys in the vicinity to elicit the views of local residents for the two proposed pilot schemes.

If successful Cowley News will fund educational boards at verges and designated wild-life hot spots, to help explain and encourage the benefits of biodiversity in our local area.

 Since the publication of this article, Cllr Henwood has presented a motion ‘Going Wild’ to Oxford City Council on October 5th 2020. The motion passed unanimously. Here is the motion in its entirety.

Going wild

Proposed by Cllr Henwood

Independent member motion

Managed Wildlife corridors are an important means of persevering and developing a bio-diversity in towns and cities. Oxford City Council in collaboration with interested parties will review how verges adjacent to pathways, roads, playing fields and cemeteries are managed with the aim of developing managed wildlife verges of bio-diversity.

Council resolves to

liaise with its stakeholders and partners including schools, colleges, Universities, community centres, Parish Councils to covert verges into wildlife habitats, by reducing the number of times verges are cut each year (currently monthly during the growing season) and proactively encouraging the introduction of wildlife plants to populate managed areas within Oxford City.

Therefore, the Council asks that:

·       on the Council’s behalf the Leader writes to the Leader of Oxfordshire County Council requesting the review of verge management practice, and the introduction of wildlife flowers.

·       the Transition Director brings a report to Cabinet with proposals for setting up a review of current practice and presenting a scheme to introduce wild flowers and pollinators to verges within Oxford City, and local councillors and residents or interested parties liaise with any proposed city council working group to review future practice of verge management.

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