A to Bee Roads and Buzzing Parks

Reducing mowing and helping our city’s ecology

As part of a pilot programme to support our city’s wildlife and nature recovery, and combat climate change, there will be a change to the frequency of mowing on around 100 km of central reservations, this is our A to Bee roads programme.

The A to Bee roads programme follows on from trials for No Mow May which took place in 2023 focusing on just 4 of the city’s 69 wards.

A to Bee Roads will initially cover 51 wards across the 10 constituencies – there will be signs up on central reservations to show where the programme is being implemented.

In our parks we will be identifying areas that would benefit from changes in mowing regime or can be enhanced through planting of wildflowers and spring bulbs – these will be part of Birmingham’s Buzzing Parks.

The Buzzing Parks will initially focus on enhancing parks in those wards without existing designated nature conservation sites within them.

Why are we doing this?

Learnings from the No Mow May trial showed us that the benefits of stopping mowing for 4 weeks alone are limited because:

  • later flowering species will not flower
  • a wide range of wildlife such as some butterflies and moths use the longer grasses as a food plant for their caterpillars

We also know that stopping all mowing of previously mown grass means some grasses will be lost – as they only survive because repeated cutting replicates grazing by herbivores.

This new approach ties into our Nature Recovery Network which is made up of all the ecologically rich sites we have in the city, including the parks and open spaces that connect these together.

Our network of grass and tree lined central reservations act as corridors for the movement of wildlife, connecting parks and open spaces together, often through more built-up areas.

Tackling climate change

Changing the mowing regime of selected areas will reduce the overall need for fuel (for mowing) by reducing the total operating hours and mileage of each machine.

By selectively leaving sections of grass to grow longer we will also be contributing to reductions in flood risk, as longer grasses slow rainwater compared to short grass.

Things you can do to help

There are lots of simple actions that can be taken at home, and small actions in our gardens can make a big difference.

  • If you have a lawn, try leaving some parts longer. Our urban wildlife needs areas of short grass, long grass, and even bare earth so a mix of these maximise the opportunities for a wide range of species.
  • Plant pollinator friendly plants in your garden, or in pots if you have a yard or balcony – wildlife will find it. There are lots to choose from and a good selection can be found on the RHS Perfect for Pollinators list.
  • If you have a driveway or are thinking of installing one, consider using a permeable surface or paving, one that allows water to seep through to the soils below. You could keep some areas of planting around the edges or even in the area between where the wheels of a car may run.

Page last updated: 9 May 2024

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