'Wild spaces' plan for cemeteries to boost biodiversity confirmed
- Credit: Archant
Sections of council-owned cemeteries will be left to become "wild spaces" to boost biodiversity and conservation.
East Suffolk Council's cabinet has approved a new policy to manage all of the council's cemeteries in the district, which includes creation of the spaces in older and less frequently used sections of the cemeteries, following a successful trial run last year.
The policy, which also covers closed churchyards whose upkeep responsibility falls to the council, "carefully balances the importance of providing accessible burial spaces for the bereaved to visit, with the need to create spaces which benefit the environment, as well as the physical and mental health of the wider community", a spokesperson said.
Grass cutting, which previously took place in these areas every two weeks between March and September, will instead take place in March before being left until late summer.
Edges of main paths, as well as routes to memorials, chapels and other frequently accessed areas, will still be cut regularly.
James Mallinder, cabinet member for the environment, said: "Cemeteries and churchyards have a significant role for local communities and must be maintained appropriately to ensure burial spaces remain accessible for bereaved families.
"Our new policy adopts a sympathetic and balanced approach where we can ensure those who want to visit their loved ones can do so, while also providing essential sanctuaries for wildlife.
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"These biodiversity areas will still be carefully managed and will be cut back annually to avoid them being overtaken by scrub and invasive plants.
"This new policy gives us the opportunity to safeguard these valuable habitats in places where they can be enjoyed by parishioners and visitors alike."
The council also confirmed no sprays or pesticides will be used in these areas, unless as a final resort to remove invasive species such as Japanese Knot Weed.
Signs will be in place in the cemeteries to explain the maintenance policy to visitors.
The new policy comes as the council announced 100 wild spaces across the district where grass and wildflowers will be left to grow.