Manifesto to preserve nation's gardensLost wildlife havens impact on climate change

18 July 2007

 

Top wildlife and horticultural organisations are today signing a wildlife gardening manifesto to save the nation's gardens, particularly those in towns and cities.

Sir Martin Doughty, chairman of Natural England, said: 'The gardens of England are under threat.

'In London, front gardens with a total area 22 times the size of Hyde Park are now paved over and lost, reducing havens for wildlife, increasing the impact of flash flooding and contributing to climate change.

'Through this manifesto, Natural England is calling on businesses, the public sector and the public to play their part and give gardens a future, for the benefit of our own health and the survival of declining species that live on our doorsteps.'

Gardening advice

The action follows a recent ICM poll commissioned by Natural England, which found that 45 per cent of 18-34 year olds do not feel they are well-informed about wildlife gardening and that 37 per cent of 18-24 year olds said they would like to do more but do not know how.

Gardens act as a food supermarket for many visiting and breeding animals, Natural England said. They are also the place where most children make their first contact with the natural world and are often one of the only places where adults encounter wildlife apart from on a television screen.

Joan Ruddock, minister for biodiversity, said: 'This manifesto will help to improve gardening advice to encourage people to manage gardens in a way that benefits wildlife.

Climate change

'This is essential because as our climate changes, the network of gardens could help wildlife to adapt and migrate throughout the country.

'It is inspiring to see leading wildlife and horticultural organisations working together to highlight the importance of gardens for wildlife and for people's health and well-being.'

The event, held at Roots and Shoots in Lambeth, London, marks a commitment by organisations to take action in supporting the role gardens play in providing habitats for wildlife and providing easy access to nature.

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