No Mow May… and bee-yond


29 April 2024

Colony of bees

North Northamptonshire Council will be taking part in ‘No Mow May’ whilst also continuing on work to implement the council’s Pollinator strategy.

This year, instead of a blanket ‘no mowing in May’ across all areas of council owned open spaces and highways network, NNC are taking a more strategic look until the Autumn. Selected sites will be carefully managed to increase sources of pollen and allow habitats to flourish whilst maintaining road safety and visibility, and continued public use of our green spaces.

‘No Mow May’ is an annual campaign of the Plantlife Charity which calls on all garden owners and green space managers not to mow during May in order to provide more food for pollinators like bees and butterflies.

NNC owns and manages many parks, opens spaces and roadside verges. The council adopted a Pollinator Strategy in August 2022 which is now being delivered across council owned parks and open spaces. The aims of which link into the themes of No Mow May.

Consideration has been given to areas of NNC’s green estate where significant areas of open space have been allocated to a less intensive and more harmonious programme of grass cutting. All open spaces which feature areas of longer grassed areas are left uncut throughout the growing season April – October, resulting in grassland meadow which benefits the environment whilst still allowing park users to utilise the spaces for other purposes. More detail will be published on the Council’s website highlighting the areas left uncut. 

Verges provide important habitats for a variety of species of insects and animals across North Northants, the council are finding the right balance between natural habitats and road safety. Verge cutting will be kept to a minimum across the rural network and other strategic areas but with safety sites still receiving a cut per month in May, July and September to maintain visibility for road users. Other roads will receive on average between 1 - 3 cuts between April and the end of September.

When cutting verges outside urban areas, NNC only cut a 1.2 metre swath width so most of the verge area is left uncut behind, this leaves a permanently untouched habitat for flora and fauna. Shorter cut grass also has benefits for certain species which thrive in shorter cut grass areas, so it is important that variety is in place across North Northants.

We are proud to be once again taking part in No Mow May, alongside our ever popular ‘Pardon the Weeds’ campaign which has run in parts of North Northants since 2020. 

There are at least 1,500 species of insect pollinators in the UK, but unfortunately pollinators face many pressures including habitat loss. By taking part in Now Mow May is key to helping create habitats for wildflowers and wildlife to thrive.

But it’s not just about one month a year, our Pollinator Strategy is in operation 365 days a year and is a green thread running through our parks and ground team’s work.
Cllr Harriet Pentland, the council’s Executive Member for Climate and Green Environment
It is great that we are taking part in No Mow May and will be officially recording the number and areas of pollinator habitat left uncut so that we can be included in the national picture.

Consideration is consistently given to all areas of NNC’s green estate and areas and so all open spaces which feature longer areas of grassed areas are left uncut throughout the growing season April - October, allowing for grassland meadows to grow and flourish.
Cllr Matt Binley, the council’s Executive Member for Highways, Travel & Assets
All of the council work we do is about balance. With this in mind, alongside now mowing areas of parks, open spaces and verges, we are also considering the safety of road users. Our team have put in place a careful plan to ensure that we are creating vital habitats for pollinators whilst maintaining visibility and keeping verges passable for pedestrians.Jason Smithers, Leader of the Council

North Northamptonshire Council’s Pollinator Strategy is available on the council’s website.