I would like to respond to the letter from Mapledurwell about wildflowers being cut down.

Responsibility for verge mowing the lanes in Mapledurwell is almost certainly the responsibility of Hampshire County Council. But there is a better solution that is open to Mapledurwell and Up Nately Parish Council. Take responsibility for verge mowing in the parish. Any parish, rural or urban can do this so why don’t more do so?

To understand and restore nature locally, power and responsibility for managing green space should be devolved to local communities. For decades green spaces have been amenity mown. That is what residents wanted or became used to. Amenity mowing became centralised to optimise cost savings and all decisions transferred to a politically sensitive cabinet comprised of just six or seven people. Population growth and biodiversity loss makes the challenge of green space management greater but complexity places an even greater burden on the cost base of local authorities and many people do not value benefits they do not understand, see or have involvement in.  Residents now can only complain. They have no say and mostly lack a good understanding of how nature works. 

READ MORE: Letter: 'Why have the wildflowers been removed?'

Communities need to learn how to do more for themselves so that they can make informed decisions and make local spaces and wildlife better. Communities should have a greater say in the services they receive, and be able to hold the service provider (council?) to account for what they get. But communities do not have that right. Nor can communities go elsewhere when dissatisfied. They get only what cabinet decides they can have. So parishes can take back more control and some have. Unparished wards can do the same.

Paul Beevers

Church Lane


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