Friday, 3 May 2019

Welcome changes in Brent Parks Department's management of wildflower meadows

Cowslips in the wildflower meadow at the University of Westminster, Northwick Park

I was very critical when Brent Council decided to save £450,000 by creating wildflower meadows in its parks. I suggested that just letting the grass grow did not in itself constitute a wildflower meadow.  Seed sowing, plug plants and correct management to ensure that the meadows are not overwhelmed by thistles etc are all essential. It seemed more of a cost-cutting exercise than a positive commitment to bio-diversity. LINK

At a recent meeting of Brent Friends of the Earth I was pleased to hear from the very enthusiastic new head of the Brent Parks Service, Kelly Eaton, that one third of each meadow area in our parks and open spaces will be sown with both annual and perennial seeds over a three year programme.  Preparation will involve tilling the seeding area. Predictably Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt was recently involved in a rather artificial photo opportunity:

In her talk Kelly Eaton also said that she would looking at the potential phasing out the use of pesticides in parks and open spaces over the near future. Glysophate is still used in Brent despite the controversy over its  possible association with cancer

There is now a biodiversity page on the Brent Council website which is still being developed, that explains the wildflower project: LINK 
To increase the amount of biodiversity in our Parks and Open Spaces, a change has been made in the way our grassed areas are managed. Our larger parks allow for a wide mix of uses of the area; including amenity grass to allow for ball games and picnics as well as the newly introduced meadow areas.

This year, we are also introducing wildflowers into our meadow areas. Not only will this introduce bursts of colour into our meadows, it will also lead to increased visits from butterflies, moths, dragonflies, bees and numerous other pollinating insects.

The planned wildlife meadow areas in some of our parks and open spaces:

-->It is refreshing to be able to publish some goods news from Brent Council  and I also welcome changes in the Parks Department in terms of the management of allotments that has meant, as far as my own site at Birchen Grove is concerned, a more proactive approach to letting overgrown plots. Great stuff. Next focus Brent's street and park trees?

Meanwhile if you fancy an early morning outing there is a Dawn Chorus Walk tomorrow, Saturday May 4th, in Gladstone Park. Meet at 5.20am at the Anson Road entrance.

The biodiversity web pages will focus on a different park or open space each month. LINK


Unknown said...

The trouble with most gardeners is of course that they fail to dress for the occasion. So please next time dress appropriately in your nice clean suit because if you simply put on your ordinary mucky gardening stuff people might think that you are just posing and after a cheap 'photo opportunity'! On a serious note as the Labour Council embarked on the meadows idea as a cost cutting exercise I wait to be convinced that effective planting and maintenance of the meadows will be sustained as the Parks Unit is forced to meet their £450,000 CUTS target. It certainly did not work in Barham Park last year as all that happened that local people were deprived of their usual recreating area and faced a dirty site with 3 feet high weeds.

Anonymous said...

Yet another Mo Butt photo opp that you just can't believe - and is that Krupa Sheth by his side in the photo again??? Do they really think we are stupid enough to be taken in by all this???

But seriously, it is good to see some genuine effort by a Council officer to improve things in our parks, despite the cuts that Butt and Co have made.

Anonymous said...

Why not One Tree Hill park, the closest park to all the new developments planned for the Wembley Central/Alperton area, with arguably the most highly dense population in Brent (increasing daily)? Stupidly singled out by Sadiq Khan as being appropriate for even more high and dense housing!! Any benefits from these developments are being taken away and used in neighbouring areas while those in Wembley Central and Alperton are left with nothing but crowdedness and a burden on infrastructure.

L Green said...

I broadly support this, but if we have another prolonged dry spell they would need to cut it, as last year the dried out long grass became a fire hazard.