Early last week the Bedfordshire Working Wildlife Trust met at the new Working Woodlands Centre in Maulden. Helen Hoyle from the Sheffield Urban BESS team spoke to the group about the team’s extensive meadow experiment in Luton and Bedford. Helen has been involved in the project since late 2012, liaising with Simon Fisher, Parks and Countryside manager at Bedford Borough Council as well as Trevor Tween, Senior Landscape and Ecology Officer and Jane Conway, Parks Development and Business Manager, both from Luton Borough Council.
The meeting was well attended; David Withers (Beds Natural History Society), Andy Lingard (Forest of Marston Vale), Lesley Saint (Environment Agency), David Spivack (RSPB), Katharine Banham (Wildlife Trust BCN), Liz Anderson (Central Bedfordshire Council), Trevor Tween (Luton Borough Council), Justin Tilley (Natural England) , Jackie Ullyett (Beds and Luton Recording and Monitoring Centre) and Zoe Holden (Cranfield University) all attended. It was organised by Sue Raven from the Greensand Trust and chaired by John Comont from the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
The group were interested to hear about the establishment of the meadow plots during 2013, work with the councils and volunteers, as well as early indicators of the response of butterflies, bees and local residents. They were keen to hear about plans to manage the plots throughout 2014 and about the forthcoming 2014 fieldwork. This will involve sampling insects from the plots with a special vacuum cleaner, as well as more in depth consultations with residents. One exciting new development is that the project sponsor, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), has agreed to fund some new public signage. This is due to go out on site later this spring.
Helen Hoyle, 7/3/2014