Garth Harkness

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North Ward on Oldham Council Learn more

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Liberal Democrats breathe new life into Oldham’s bee habitats

by Garth Harkness on 7 January, 2020

Councillor Howard Sykes MBE and the Oldham Liberal Democrats want to combat the negative effects of climate change in Oldham.  They wish to reverse the dramatic fall in UK bee and insect population.  They are bringing a brand-new local policy to the table at the next Full Council Meeting (08/01/20).  

Bees and other insects play a vital role in pollination of trees, crops and flowers that help produce the air we breath and food we eat.  They want Oldham’s roadside wastelands to be transformed into diverse nature habitats.  This will reduce maintenance costs and diversify our local wildlife.  

“These habitats will be turning ugly roadside grass verges and wastes into patches of flowers shrubs and ‘insect hotels’.  Insect hotels are logs and rocks placed in a certain way to attract different animal species to the area,” stated Councillor Sykes.

“Living in a green and vibrant area is also beneficial to people’s mental health.  This is also a fantastic opportunity for community groups to get involved and help the Council develop these urban meadows throughout Oldham Borough,” he added.

Councillor Dave Murphy is seconding the motion:  “All political parties need to work together on issues like climate change.  This local Liberal Democrat idea will halt, and hopefully reverse, a decline in UK nature.”

Copy of Motion:

Council 8th January 2020 – Notice of Opposition Business – Motion – Urban Meadows and Bee Corridors for a greener Oldham

This Council notes that:

  • Recent work in other areas of the country has seen grass verges and dual carriageway centres transformed into wildflower corridors teeming with flora and fauna.
  • These urban Meadows have multiple benefits for the areas that have been created.  They enhance the support for wildlife thus delivering biodiversity and increasing the natural beauty and appeal of an area. 
  • Nature sites attract new visitors who come to see the colourful arrays created.
  • Bee Corridors will reduce the maintenance costs due to the low maintenance of such areas.
  • With bits of wood and plastic and in partnership with schools and youth groups, Insect Hotels will be built along the flowery corridors to attract as much wildlife as possible.
  • The purpose of this scheme is to combat the dramatic loss of habitat and falling bee numbers. Insect numbers influence plant pollination and other species depend upon their existence.
  • Although these urban Meadows are not for every community space and roadside, by increasing the local biodiversity in Oldham borough will have a positive effect on learning, mental health and overall appeal in the area.
  • If a green Oldham is the ambition, this motion takes us a step forward to achieving that.

This Council resolves to:

  • Have officers assess the feasibility of establishing Wildflower corridors, insect hotels and urban meadows across the Borough. Officers should also work closely with Parish Councillors and Borough Councils on this matter.
  • A report highlighting potential locations and areas suitable should be presented to Cabinet before work can begin in 2020.
  • The report will focus on working with the local community, businesses and Councillors to distinguish good and bad practice areas for this scheme.
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