Flintshire Council cemeteries plan to help the environment and save money
Grass could be allowed to grow in Flintshire Council owned cemeteries to help the environment and save money.
At the most recent meeting of Flintshire Council’s cabinet members received an update report on the authority’s Biodiversity Duty Delivery Plan 2020 – 2023, which it has a duty to produce under Section 6 of the Environment (Wales) Act.
The report had been presented by cabinet member for climate change and economy, Caergwrle Cllr Dave Healey (Lab), who added: “One cannot help but be impressed with the work our access and natural environment team are doing.”
Contained within the report are details of how the council is keeping biodiversity in mind in providing its services, and plans to further maintain the environment.
The report states: “Grant funding has enabled good progress to increase wildflower areas and tree planting across our council estate.
“This shift from conventional grass mowing management to a more varied practice, benefits both nature and carbon emissions/sequestration while helping to improve local urban conditions through increased absorption of pollution, reducing surface water flooding, providing noise and visual barriers, increasing the value of properties and providing shade and urban cooling.
“Applications for Bee Friendly status were submitted for Wepre Park, Greenfield Valley Heritage Park and Flintshire County Council in 2022. The applications were provisionally approved pending some further action which is in progress. We are aiming to complete this work by 2023.
“We now have 157 Wildflower sites mapped. This includes 97 sites in active management with 43 going through consultation or installation and another seven which are proposed. We have also included and are expanding sites at burial grounds, contaminated land sites, active travel routes and play areas within this project.
“Grant funding has been instrumental in the installation and/or ongoing management of these sites with investment in required machinery to support the change in management.”
Chairing the meeting, deputy leader Llanfynydd Cllr Dave Hughes (Lab) gave feedback about a seminar he had attended on cemeteries and crematoriums, and the opportunities within the county to let nature grow.
Cllr Hughes said: “They were really pushing about this agenda that we do have cemeteries where we just mow it to death and those could actually be areas where we allow flowers to grow there.
“It was really interesting and I think it’s something we need to look at in some of the cutting down that we do through Streetscene that we may be able to leave some of them.
“It would save us money but it would help with climate change.”
Cllr Healey agreed and added: “The access and natural environment team were very quick to get back to me on the cemeteries.
“It turns out they are already piloting work in Hawarden Cemetery, one in Kelsterton and they’ve got other places they are talking about working with some non-council owned graveyards because they do realise the potential.”
Flintshire Council’s chief planning officer Andrew Farrow said the authority was always considering the environment in its ways of working.
He said: “This is about embedding biodiversity in the day to day working of the council, picking up any opportunities we can and in light of that we’ve got a joint management team (planning and Streetscene) in January where we can pick up matters like that and help each other.”
Cabinet members supported the update, with Mold East Cllr Chris Bithell (Lab) adding: “There is a corporate responsibility.
“Transport, highways and Streetscene, housing, planning – have all got a contribution to make and I think together we will achieve our targets in relation to improving the biodiversity of our county.”
By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
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