The Local Democracy Reporting Service has obtained a list of the 13 provisional locations where the flora will spring up – including at some of the borough’s busiest roadsides and within existing green spaces.
Planting had been due to start this year, but was delayed by the coronavirus crisis. However, a related programme of school talks on the importance of biodiversity was largely completed before the pandemic struck – and it is hoped that the district’s pupils will be at the forefront of bringing the plans into bloom.
Bamber Bridge-based beekeeper Steve Ganner said that the summertime scene at a couple of current wildflower sites, close to the town’s leisure centre, proved that the benefits of the proposed planting would extend beyond simply brightening up the borough.
“You could see last year that it wasn’t just the honeybees that were attracted – there was every type of insect on those flowers. And it’s one big ecosystem, so you get the ladybirds feeding off the greenflies and the birds feasting on the insects.
“Wildflowers also help to bridge something called ‘the June gap’, a period where there is a slight drop-off in the number of flowers. You get the initial explosion of spring, but then after the end of May, the bees are waiting for the next wave of flowering to get their nectar,” Steve explained.
However, he warned that his own unsuccessful experience of wildflower planting showed that it was not as simple as it might seem and the conditions have to be just right in order for them to thrive.
South Ribble Borough Council leader Paul Foster said that the meadows would make a great “educational tool” for schoolchildren.
“Kids love them and wildflowers are wonderfully effective for the ecology locally – they have a proven positive environmental impact.
“Add to this the fact that they also look really good aesthetically – and so improve the environment further for our local community – and it really is a win-win.
“The environment is a top priority for the Labour administration and that is why we are prioritising their planting.”
Walton-le dale West ward councillor, Damien Bretherton, welcomed the promise of three meadows in his area – and claimed that the opposition group had helped sow the seeds for the scheme.
“[My fellow ward councillor] Matt Campbell and I presented a long report to the cabinet member for the environment last year on biodiversity – including plans for wildflower meadows to support dwindling populations of pollinators, such as butterflies and bees.
“Wildflower meadows bring great benefits, not only for those pollinators, but also the health and wellbeing of local residents – they are over the moon,” Cllr Bretherton added.
PROPOSED PLANTING SITES
***Carwood Way/Millwood Road, opposite The Hunters pub, Walton-le Dale
***In front of the mini golf at Worden Park, Leyland
***Native wildflower meadow at Balcarres Green, Leyland
***Banking on Lancaster Lane, Clayton-le-Woods
***New Longton playing field, next to the football pitch and at the rear of houses
***Roundabout at top of Brownedge Road, at the border between Bamber
Bridge and Lostock Hall
***West Paddock field, Leyland
***Wood Green, Leyland
***Leadale Green, Leyland
***Field at the end of Cowling Lane (which can be seen from Schleswig Way), Leyland
***Banking on Longmeanygate, below Bobby the Iron Horse, Leyland
***Bellis Way, Walton le Dale
***Banking on Hennel Lane, Walton-le-Dale