wild about erewashA greener borough, it’s in our nature

Your questions answered

What does rewilding mean – and what are the benefits?

The council’s mission to boost our natural environment follows a collapse in UK biodiversity. Insects including vital pollinators such as bees have declined by 60 per cent in the past 20 years. Nature can recover but not unless we change the way we manage our precious green spaces. Rewilding means many grassy areas will now not be so close-clipped. They will also not be mown as often. Longer grass, including on roadside verges, provides crucial habitats for wildlife.

Wild about Erewash aims to:

  • Improve people’s health and well-being;
  • Improve biodiversity;
  • Reduce the council’s carbon footprint.

Is it just about letting grass grow longer?

Cemeteries, sports pitches and many major traffic islands are among areas where grass cutting will continue largely unchanged.
In a lot of areas across the borough grass will be longer – and this is deliberate. Open spaces will appear less like lawns and more like meadows. We will also be placing less emphasis on formal bedding plants – which will mean a new look for many of our parks. We will be seeding wildflowers in some areas instead. The aim is to create colourful meadows which encourage rare native plant species to regain a foothold. Butterflies and other wildlife will also get a boost.

Will I still be able to walk my dog where the grass has grown?

The borough’s green spaces will continue to be maintained and monitored. Where grass is being allowed to turn into a meadow, a strip that is closer-mown will form a margin around the area. Many sites will see paths mown through them.

What plants and wildlife are being encouraged?

Information boards are being placed at eight sites as the council monitors the impact on wildlife such as bees, butterflies and hedgehogs. The sites are:  Petersham open space, Long Eaton; Bare Lane, Ockbrook; Dallimore Road, Kirk Hallam; Wyndale Drive, Kirk Hallam; Barling Lagoon, Ilkeston; Beauvale Drive, Cotmanhay; Granby Park, Cotmanhay and Larklands, Ilkeston.

Won’t the borough look less neat and tidy?

It is likely to be two years or more before we begin reaping significant rewards in terms of biodiversity. One key aspect will be far less mowing of roadside verges, which will become green “corridors” for wildlife. The use of weedkiller such as glyphosate will be reduced.

Less mowing? Is this about saving money?

The council is having to find ways of cutting expenditure to balance its budget – and less mowing will save money. But just because a strategy is cost-effective does not mean it is a bad one. As part of our rewilding mission a £35,000 investment has been made in new mowing equipment that will cut grass less closely to the ground. At the same time we are showing our commitment to the natural environment by creating a brand new nature reserve called Pewit Coronation Meadows Local Nature Reserve where Ilkeston’s former Pewit golf course stood. The money for this is coming from the Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund and section 106 money from the New Stanton Park development.

How will rewilding combat climate change?

To start with, there will be a drastic reduction in the council’s use of fossil fuels simply by using its mowing equipment less. Growing bedding plants like the council did at its nurseries was not environmentally friendly, in part due to the large number of plastic pots used and the environmental cost of heating the glasshouses.
Longer grass – alongside plans to plant 2,250 trees at Manor Floods Nature Reserve and adjacent land – can help mitigate the threat of flooding. Rewilded areas act as a sponge – while roots suck up water.

Why do the rewilded areas look untidy?

Verges will be cut three to four times a year.
Initial implementation will have areas of long grass during the establishment of long-term project management at eight sites.

Paths will be cut to ensure public right of way, this will enhance areas for people to enjoy walking, exercise and be closer with nature.

How have people been informed about rewilding?

As part of the council’s commitment to climate change it was decided that rewilding would be implemented. This includes the development of eight rewilding project sites, supporting pollinators and interlinking mosaic habitats

Find out about the long-term goals and benefits of rewilding across the borough.

The council will respond to feedback through engagement sessions with the public, and signage will soon be displayed at key locations across the borough.

What is the council’s policy if residents cut verges?

Most verges belong to Derbyshire County Council which is the highways authority.

Verges under EBC’s remit will not be policed should residents decide to cut the grass themselves.

Will litter be removed?

Yes.  Litter will still be managed by our hardworking green space and street scene teams.

Have bulb displays gone forever? 

Yes, however EBC is happy to engage with sponsors to continue with roundabout displays (naturalised bulbs such as daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops.)

Have there been redundancies because of the rewilding project? 

No council staff job roles have been lost due to the implementation of the rewilding project. 

I'm concerned about visibility at road junctions. What do I do? 

Please report any highway visibility issues to Derbyshire County Council who will then inspect and/or report them to Erewash Borough Council for action. .