Mitie is supporting the ‘Mow May’ campaign which encourages businesses and members of the public to pause some of their mowing and weeding.
With the UK officially entering spring and flowers beginning to bloom, many people are getting their gardening gloves ready. Research suggests, however, that reducing gardening activities allows plants to produce up to ten times more nectar for bees and other pollinators – with frequent mowing impacting the habitat of many pollinators and reducing the number of bees and flies. So, holding back on the trimmers and lawn mowers in May, when grass growth picks-up after a cold winter, can have a big impact on biodiversity as it gives a chance for different types of flowers to grow, boosting nectar production, which is key for pollinators.
The campaign which was created by conservation charity Plantlife, encourages biodiversity. As well as postponing lawn mowing and weeding across its own sites, several Mitie customers, covering 50 sites across the UK, have already signed-up to the initiative to help retain attractive habitats for bees, butterflies and beetles. This is particularly important since pollinators are declining in numbers in the UK. For example, the number of wild bee and hoverfly species present in their natural habitat fell by a third between 1980-20132.
Mitie is also encouraging its employees to take part in No Mow May to help play their part too. Through an internal campaign, Mitie will seek to raise awareness about the benefits of letting the grass grow and ask colleagues to leave their lawn mowers in the shed during May. With 77,500 colleagues across the UK, Mitie employees can help support the nation’s population of pollinators.
Throughout the month, the Mitie Landscapes team will keep track of the positive impact of No Mow May by monitoring the number and species of plants that are present at site locations. By sharing this information with Plantlife, the project will also feed into the charity’s conservation work. Mitie will also use its landscaping and sustainability expertise to work with customers and identify whether any of their estate can be permanently transformed into wildflower meadows. This is particularly important since 97 per cent, around three million hectares – the equivalent to almost twice the size of Wales – of UK wildflower meadows have been lost since 1930.
The support for the ‘No Mow May’ initiative is part of the facility services provider’s Plan Zero commitment to become net zero carbon for its operational emissions by 2025 and to help its customers become more sustainable. In 2020, Mitie planted 2,000m2, the equivalent to almost two Olympic sized pools, of wildflower meadows and launched its Plan Zero City Landscaping Service to limit the environmental impact in cities and urban areas. As part of this service, Mitie has replaced all chemicals, such as pesticides and synthetic fertilisers, for environmentally friendly techniques, such as hand weeding, to help reduce the impact that chemicals are having on pollinators. Mitie also installed 100 bird boxes and 21 bat boxes last year and is committed to installing 200 more in 2021, to support biodiversity in the communities where its clients are based.
Tim Howell, managing director, Landscapes, comments:
“With wildflower meadows shrinking and the number of pollinators in decline, we all need to take action to make our green spaces more attractive to these crucial insects. To support our precious biodiversity, we’re encouraging our customers, employees, and other businesses too, to join these efforts by postponing their lawn mowing in May and helping Britain’s wildlife thrive.”