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Borough biodiversity area buzzing for a second year

News release 10131, published on 24 Mar 2022
Council plans for more Biodiversity Improvement Zones in the borough have been supported following a survey showing the Hatch Warren and Beggarwood Biodiversity Improvement Zone (BIZ) has seen more species for the second year in a row.

A total of 213 grasses and wildflower species were recorded across eight verges and open spaces, an increase of 34 per cent on the previous year, and135 invertebrates species including butterflies, bees, spiders and wasps.

The Hatch Warren and Beggarwood BIZ has been run by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council since 2020. During this time, the areas have been cut differently and regularly monitored to improve habitats for wildlife and flora and create green corridors for wildlife to travel from one area to another.

The biodiversity project is just one of the ways in which the council is responding to the Climate Emergency declared in July 2019. It also supports the council’s Ecological Emergency declared in November 2021, to address concerns about losses of pollinating insects, wildflowers and other wildlife. And there are plans to expand the Biodiversity Improvement Network across the borough as part of this action.

Cabinet Member for Planning, Infrastructure and the Natural Environment Cllr Mark Ruffell said: “It has been wonderful to see the fantastic results of the BIZ project and all the new species that have emerged in Hatch Warren and Beggarwood.

“This project is a step in the right direction for the council’s ambition to protect the borough’s natural environment as well as optimising the climate mitigation and adaption qualities of the natural environment, as laid out in our Climate Change and Air Quality Strategy. These second set of results are proof this project is having the desired impact and we will be exploring opportunities to expand our network into other areas of the borough where it is appropriate.”

The survey, which took place late in 2021 also showed more than 25 chalk related species were found within the area including rarities such as a clustered bellflower, dropwort and maiden pink. Five species of orchids were found, with the overall plant species in the BIZ project increasing in 26 out of the 28 total areas involved.

The Hatch Warren and Beggarwood project will continue throughout 2022, with the verges being cut back in the spring to help encourage new growth and create suitable habitats for the more delicate flowers and plants.

In 2020, results showed a total of 152 species of herbaceous plants and grasses including buttercups, forget-me-nots and the white flowers of wild carrot.

For updates on the project including videos of the survey work and species found go to <span>www.basingstoke.gov.uk/hatchwarren-and-beggarwood-biz

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