Wildflowers to bring colour to Walsall
A trial that will see wildflowers grown in place of grass on two major Walsall roads is to be carried out.
Council bosses agreed to conduct the trial on two main routes, on either a central reservation or roadside, to test whether it is viable and safe for motorists and pedestrians.
A notice of motion was put to Walsall Council by Liberal Democrat members Ian Shires and Daniel Barker calling for the trial.
But the ruling Conservative group said they had already set the wheels in motion in June on encouraging wildflowers to grow on the roadside before the motion had been raised.
They successfully passed a slightly amended notice of motion and said the results of the trial would be subject to a consultation with scrutiny committee members.
Councillor Oliver Butler, portfolio holder for clean and green said: “Following proposals initiated by myself in June, clean and green are currently in discussions with contractors to determine the most suitable sites for trialling roadside wildflower meadows based on soil type, drainage, sunlight and existing bio-diversity in the vicinity.
“When we have determined the most suitable locations for the trial sites I will taking forward a paper to Cabinet to formalise the trial.
“Once we have seen how the trial meadow sites develop we will be able to consider whether to expand these wildflower meadows to other locations around Walsall.”
The Liberal Democrats said encouraging the growth of wildflowers would have several benefits for the environment and the authority’s coffers.
Councillor Shires said: “Firstly, it makes areas more attractive. Secondly, it creates havens for pollinating insects and other insects and thirdly it does save money.
“There is increasingly strong evidence that green planted areas are very good for both physical and mental health.
“More green areas calms people and encourages positivity within our lives as well as extracting pollutants from the air.
“Cutting grass less frequently saves money that could be used for other environmental activity.
“With this, we are aiming to bring good management to our road network as much as possible. We want to maximise flower and plant diversity, maximise subsequent benefits and keep roads safe by recognising the need to maintain sight lines for drivers.”
Council leader Mike Bird said: “Yes, it is a good idea. But it has to be trialled before we know it works in Walsall.
“Some roads certainly won’t be suitable for this kind of treatment and I think its important for road safety and highway safety, so before we start throwing a lot of money at this we make sure it does work.”
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