Best of both worlds: The nature drive saving Havering cash

Most people enjoy the sound of birds singing; the sight of a busy bee at work; and the rustle of trees in the wind - but did you know that this could be saving you, the Havering taxpayer, money as well?

As part of the vast savings drive, the creation of grass and wildflower meadows in many of the borough’s parks and green spaces is expected to knock around �60,000 from the council budget.

In 2010, 32 grass meadows were created making it a total of 37 grass meadows and five wildflower meadows in the borough – and each of these save cash through reduced maintenance bills.

Importantly, meadows along with various other nature-drives have increased local biodiversity and provided more natural attractions for residents to enjoy.

The first wildflower meadow under this programme was sown in the grasslands opposite the Queen’s Theatre in Billet Lane, Hornchurch, as part of an improvement of the green in 2010.

Two small meadows were created at the southern corners of the green; these were sown with a seed mix of traditional wildflowers by Havering’s horticultural apprentices.

These new floral habitats have attracted a range of species including; bees, butterflies and birds to the area.

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Following the success at Hornchurch, wildflower meadows were created at Lawns Park, Rush Green, Rise Park and an area outside Romford Library was sown in the spring.

The programme is part of a “groundbreaking” initiative, insists Cllr Andrew Curtin, council cabinet member for culture towns, and communities.

It sees fingers of nature probing into town centres, providing linked pathways from the countryside through parks and nature reserves on the periphery of the borough, onto patches of meadow and grassland in more built-up areas and finally penetrating the heart of our towns themselves via tree-lined streets and even hanging baskets.

“We are not an inner city borough,” said Cllr Curtin, “We need to embrace that we have a lot of green space and the aim is to create these nature corridors.

“It’s good for nature and it’s good for us: it helps us get the most pleasure we can from our environment, it’s good for health, and it’s great for conservation.”

He added: “It’s the reverse of the fear of the city spreading out into the country, let’s see this as a way of nature sprinkling back into the city.”