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Creating a biodiversity improvement zone

News release 9649, published on 02 Mar 2020
Plans to improve habitats for wildlife and flora by managing green spaces and verges differently in the borough are being considered by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
The council is exploring the opportunity to create a Biodiversity Improvement Zone for Hatch Warren and Beggarwood and is putting forward several open space areas and verges to be cut differently during the growing season from April to September.
These areas will be monitored to measure the benefits which, it is anticipated, will encourage the growth of a greater range of plant species and additional habitats for wildlife.
The pilot project aims to build on the excellent work undertaken by the Hatch Warren Nature Group to improve the biodiversity on an area of land near St Marks School. The proposed green spaces and verges have been put forward following discussions between the council and local conservation groups Natural Basingstoke and Hatch Warren Nature Group.
Residents and people who use these areas are now being asked to give their views on the Biodiversity Improvement Zone project and the verges and green spaces suggested.
A drop in consultation event is being held on Monday 9 March from 4pm to 8pm at Hatch Warren Community Centre, Long Cross Lane or people can go online to receive more information and give their views at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/hatchwarren-and-beggarwood-biz. The consultation closes on Friday 27 March 2020.
Cabinet Member for Planning, Infrastructure and Natural Environment Cllr Mark Ruffell said: “We have a beautiful green borough and it is important we are always looking at how we can enrich the biodiversity on our land, particularly in urban areas.
“This pilot project aims to build on the excellent work already taking place in the area and introduce several new spaces that will be cut differently during the growing season to encourage growth of a greater range of plant species and provide additional habitats for wildlife, with an ultimate goal to create green corridors for wildlife to travel from one area to another.”
Cllr Ruffell added: “There will be no change to accessing these areas for all residents and their pets. However, they will look different to those areas cut more frequently during the cutting season, so that wildflowers and native chalkland species can thrive. The council will be investing in new cut and collect mowing machinery to enable this project to proceed. I hope local people will support the Biodiversity Improvement Zone project and its objectives and I look forward to hearing their views on the suggested areas put forward.”
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