Suffolk Village of the Year 2023

From our County Councillor

It is fantastic driving or walking around the Suffolk countryside in early summer.  Everything is so green, the uncut verges are fat grass pillows, stunning churches and fine old cottages line the village streets, or can be glimpsed between the trees.  Our natural and built environment is really something to value and preserve.

I was therefore sorry that, although the commitment to being ‘the greenest county’ remains, conservation of our natural and built assets did not feature in the County Council’s  headline priorities for the next three years that were announced at the annual meeting in May.  One of these aspirations, the promotion of economic growth in Suffolk, would surely be undermined if, because we have not sustained the features that make our area uniquely attractive, visitors stop coming to spend money in our shops and hotels; or if owners of companies seeking a good quality of life locate elsewhere.

It was a consolation therefore to read about the successful launch of Suffolk’s Nature Strategy at RSPB Minsmere in early June.  Presented by Mark Bee, the Leader of the Council, the Strategy was positively endorsed by BBC Springwatch presenter Chris Packham as ‘a highly intelligent way forward’.

The policy was planned over many months by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, the National Trust, the RSPB and Suffolk County Council.  It recognises the importance of the natural environment in promoting economic activity and also social benefits such as the promotion of health and wellbeing. It is thought to be a truly innovative document and the first of its type in the UK.

Related to the Strategy is the attention that is paid in Suffolk to our roadside verges.  There are more than 4000 miles of road in Suffolk, of which 80% are classed as rural.  It is now recognised that the verges offer important ‘corridors’ for wildlife, migrating between different habitats.  Additionally,  in themselves they can be the home of rare plant species such as sulphur clover. There are now over 100 stretches of verge in the county that are designated as roadside nature reserves subject to special cutting regimes to ensure their ecological sustainability.

More information about the Suffolk Nature Strategy  in general , or the Suffolk Roadside Nature Reserve Project in particular can be found on the Suffolk County Council Website.
More articles like this one can be read on my website.

Jenny Antill is the County Councillor for the Cosford Division, which includes Cockfield.

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