Mid & East Antrim borough’s green spaces go herbicide free

Mid and East Antrim Council has underlined its commitment to improving and enhancing green spaces for local communities and native wildlife.

Thursday, 28th May 2020, 12:40 pm

Conscious of the need to reduce, replace, and where possible completely eliminate the use of herbicides, Council has committed to significantly reducing herbicide usage over the next three years.

The Mayor, Councillor Maureen Morrow said: “Keen to improve our environment for wildlife and human health and wellbeing, we have committed to significantly reducing herbicide usage over the next three years.

“A number of sites including Bashfordsland Wood in Carrickfergus, Diamond Jubilee Wood in Whitehead and Ecos Nature Park in Ballymena, are now officially herbicide free.

“As well as this, herbicide usage will be significantly reduced across all green spaces across in the borough.

“There is perhaps no such thing as a weed, just ‘misunderstood flowers’.

“Dandelions are a great example. They are one of the most unpopular so-called ‘weeds’ but have great value for people and wildlife.”

Dandelion’s peak flowering time is from late March to May, when many bees and other pollinators emerge from hibernation, so they are an essential food source for bees and pollinators at this time.

The borough’s First Citizen said: “I would encourage public support for this initiative and hope residents will accept some areas looking a little more wild than usual.”

Council has pointed out that herbicide-free urban meadows and grasslands may seem a little untidy, but are, in fact, a haven for important insects such as bees and butterflies and other wildlife - stating: ‘Why not consider going herbicide free in your own garden or allotment?’

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council aim to provide education around organic gardening as part of this programme and some useful tips can be found on their website:www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/biodiversity

The local authority says it may continue to use herbicides for the control of invasive species across the borough, until greener alternatives are found.

Residents throughout the borough are being reminded that when using public parks and green spaces for exercise, to continue to follow social distancing guidelines by staying two metres away from another person not from your own household.

Council also issued a reminder to citizens to continue to wash their hands frequently and not to visit public parks and green spaces if they or a member of their household has any Coronavirus symptoms.

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