WILDFLOWERS will soon transform more of Cheshire West’s landscape to help wildlife to thrive and bring grass cutting costs down.

Members of Cheshire West and Chester Council were told that work is already underway for wildflowers to become a key part of the borough’s landscape at Thursday’s meeting.

But some councillors and residents are keen to see efforts stepped up to make the borough more attractive and to help tackle climate change.

Cllr Gillian Edwards, independent CWAC member for Weaver and Cuddington, said: “This is something that I have been championing in my ward since being elected and it has been really well received by residents.

Northwich Guardian:

“If we all make small changes we can make a huge impact.

“Now that we have declared a climate emergency, we have an obligation to do everything that we possibly can, and the benefits to this are numerous.”

Two Winsford residents called for their town to be considered as a pilot area for planting more wildflowers at the beginning of Thursday’s meeting.

John Malam, who was also made an honorary freeman at the meeting, runs the Friends of Winsford Town Park group.

Northwich Guardian:

He said: “The Friends of Winsford Town Park – the park that you have put that money into – are ready, waiting and willing to enable and facilitate that should you choose Winsford to be a trial.

“There will be other locations across the town as well, but Winsford Town Park is a place for us all to take pride in.”

Alan Halpin told councillors that wildflowers are the ‘powerhouse behind the habitat’ for insects and birds – and pointed out other councils are saving as much as £93,000 a year by reducing the amount of grass cutting.

He said: “I believe that the amount that you are planting is a pitiful amount of land compared to the amount of land that you look after or own.

Northwich Guardian:

“With hundreds of pollinators and other insect species relying on wildflowers to survive, the loss of Britain’s meadows is closely tied to broader trends of wildlife destruction in recent years.

“Let’s work from the root up and get the fabric of our landscape back in place.”

Cllr Mike Baynham, Conservative member for Winsford Over and Verdin, put forward the motion to full council calling for more work to launch a wildflower strategy and for areas to be piloted.

He said: “We have a lot of green areas in our borough, we are very fortunate about that – whether it’s a roundabout or a strip of land in a road.

Northwich Guardian:

“Here in Winsford we have Town Park, we have large areas that are owned by housing trusts.

“It is so important – it’s important for me, it’s important for everybody in here and it is important for our children. We need to do things like involve our schools and involve our whole communities.”

Labour Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport, supported Cllr Baynham – but insisted it is something the council is already working on.

She told members that CWAC began work on a wildflower and pollinator strategy in the summer, and that it would soon be presented for public consultation and scrutiny.

Northwich Guardian:

“We agree that it’s really important,” she said.

“You can’t just walk up to a piece of grass and throw down seed – it is exactly that reason that we need to get expert input.”

CWAC has sown wildflower sides at more than 60 sites across the borough so far this year – mostly in Chester, Ellesmere Port, Neston and Frodsham.

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Meanwhile, at some sites in Winsford and Northwich the council has agreed with residents to leave the areas alone and see what grows naturally first, without sowing seeds.

Labour Cllr Matt Bryan, CWAC’s climate emergency champion, added: “I can guarantee that within four years every single square inch of grass, highway and verge will have been assessed.”