Cllr George Fielding and Cllr Charlotte Gerada submitted a motion to the Portsmouth City Council Full Meeting taking place on Monday 19 July, to challenge the Liberal Democrat administration to undertake more measures to enhance biodiversity.
The motion calls on the Cabinet to review and update policies and practices on urban biodiversity that might harm or undermine local ecosystems.
The Portsmouth Labour Group is requesting a review of grass cutting across the city and to allow some rewilding on allotment plots to improve habitats for insects, including bees. In addition, the Leader of the Council is asked to provide a bi-monthly update to members on the progress of this initiative.
Portsmouth Labour Councillors have brought this motion forward because at present, Portsmouth City Council mows grass verges, de-weeds pavements and sends ‘Dirty Plot Notices’ to residents who rewild sections of their allotments.
This is despite environmental charities recommending that a proportion of allotments should be rewilded to support biodiversity and local ecosystems.
Cllr George Fielding, Leader of the Labour Group and proposer of the motion, said:
“We know that the climate crisis is having a detrimental impact on nature, wild habitats and biodiversity. In terms of our collective action as a city, reducing carbon emissions has to happen in tandem with supporting local ecosystems.
“Policies and practices undertaken by Portsmouth City Council should be reviewed immediately so that a better approach to protecting and enhancing biodiversity happens. In general, council approaches to grounds maintenance should aim to positively contribute to rewilding.”
Cllr Charlotte Gerada, a Labour councillor and seconder of the motion, said:
“Small actions taken by residents and the council can increase the cumulative, positive impacts of rewilding. By working as a whole city, we can do a lot to support our local ecosystems.
“Councils in the UK and abroad take a variety of measures to enhance biodiversity, such as rewilding the tops of bus shelters, extensively planting wildflowers and greening built-up city areas. We should stop harmful practices as well as implementing proactive ones, to make the biggest possible difference to responding to the climate and ecological emergency.”