Stirling Council will work with local communities on a new Pollinator Strategy to increase the diversity of plants and wildlife across Stirling.

The Council has been consulting with the public on changes to its grass cutting policy through its climate conversation survey, which ran from March until September.

The development of a new Pollinator Strategy was agreed by members of the Environment and Housing Committee last week (24 Sep) after they heard a petition by environmental organisation On the Verge.

Helping wildflowers flourish

The strategy will remodel the way the Council manages greenspaces in order to help wildflowers flourish and support the lives of bees and other pollinators.

The plans will cover greenspaces across the Council area, including parks, amenities, cemetery land, road verges and grass sections throughout the city of Stirling.

Local communities will be asked for their views to help shape the strategy’s action plans and allow the Council to take a more ecological approach to managing greenspaces. Among the proposed key action plans are:

  • Grounds maintenance rationalisation – including a business case for cut and collect grass cutting
  • Naturalised areas – principally reduced/altered maintenance grass areas through the use of wildflowers/trees
  • Pesticide use - option for reducing/eliminating pesticide use
  • Verge maintenance – proposals to amend verge maintenance to enhance biodiversity
  • Annual bedding – exploring options including use of wildflowers, hardy annuals and perennials.

Consulting with local communities

Convener of the Environment and Housing Committee, Councillor Jim Thomson said: “We have listened to the views put forth through our climate survey and the petition brought forward by On The Verge, and our Pollinator Action Plan will be a key document in helping Stirling tackle the climate emergency.

“Everyone wants Stirling to be a greener, healthier place to live and it’s important we capture as many voices as possible across our communities to make sure our Pollinator Strategy helps deliver this.”

Letting our greenspaces grow

Vice Convener, Council Danny Gibson, said: “Environmental issues are at the heart of our forward planning and we, like many residents, can see the benefit of letting our greenspaces grow, where possible.

“Through our Pollinator Strategy, we want to actively encourage more plants and wildlife to thrive in Stirling and I would urge residents, organisations and businesses to get involved in our consultation exercise to help us shape our plans for the immediate and long-term future.”

The new strategy is scheduled to be brought before the Environment and Housing Committee in early 2021, and further information on how local communities can become involved will be released in due course.

Support from On The Verge

On The Verge spokesperson Leigh Biagi said: “All at On the Verge are delighted that the presentation of our petition Keep the Wildflowers of Stirling Blooming was so positively received at the meeting of the Environment and Housing committee and that Stirling Council has agreed to adopt the recommendations we have made regarding managing grassland to the benefit of both pollinators and people.

“We are really looking forward to working with the council and Stirling residents to help support this important work.”

Plantlife Scotland and Pesticide-Free Scotland

The strategy was also supported by Plantlife Scotland and Pesticide-Free Scotland, who have been working with the Council to investigate options for reducing and eliminating pesticide use in Stirling.

Plantlife Scotland spokesperson Alistair Whyte said: “Plantlife Scotland are delighted that Stirling Council have agreed to manage our road verges and green spaces with wildlife in mind.

"These days we hear a lot about extinction of species and the loss of habitats. Managing road verges and green spaces for wildlife is a great example of positive action which can be taken locally to tackle these losses, and we look forward to working with On the Verge and Stirling Council to track the changing fortunes of our wild flowers over the years to come.”

Director and Founder of Pesticide-Free Scotland James Byrne said: “Pesticide-Free Scotland welcomes the decision by Stirling Council to commit to reducing or eliminate pesticide use. By eliminating pesticides, Stirling joins other progressive cities around the world like Paris, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Toronto, Seattle and New York. We look forward to continuing to work with Stirling Council to protect people and pollinators of Stirling.”