Pat Farrell from the Environment topic group invites us to think about our wildlife and how it can be integrated into new housing developments.
The Environment group is considering the impact on wildlife of any developments – housing or otherwise – in the parish. Is it important to retain wildlife habitats such as hedges, trees, meadows and verges? Should we be looking to create new areas for our wildlife to flourish safely?
There are ways in which preservation of our environment and natural habitats benefit the community as a whole. For example:
- Cornish hedges and rows of trees help reduce traffic noise.
- Areas of meadow and verges absorb rainfall and reduce surface flooding.
- Trees intercept rain as it falls and can help prevent soil erosion.
- The presence of bushes and trees improves air quality by absorbing toxins and replenishing oxygen levels.
- Green ‘corridors’ enable wildlife to move through developments and access nearby habitats safely. The more we plan for wildlife alongside human habitation, the more likely we are to see a diverse range of species from our doorsteps and in our gardens.
- Greenery promotes a sense of mental wellbeing; we all like to see the trees and wild flowers that grace our landscape.
It isn’t hard to make room for wildlife in new developments and with careful planning the environment of a new housing development can be a place in which wildlife flourishes.
Bat roosts and bird nesting boxes can be incorporated into roof areas. Hedgehog highways can be encouraged by creating small doorways in impermeable boundaries. The seeding of verges and front lawns with ‘meadow mixes’ instead of rye grass encourages bees and butterflies, which in turn help to pollinate garden vegetable patches. Birds and butterflies can be encouraged by planting communal areas with native species, preferably berries or fruit; species which can withstand the unpredictable Cornish weather and look attractive.
What do you think? Does wildlife matter to you? Is it more important that we can build the new housing we need, where we need it? How can we achieve a balance?