It has been wonderful to see the more wildlife-friendly mowing of some of our local road verges, public spaces and private gardens this year.

Leaving mowing and strimming until later in the year allows wildflowers to flourish, provides better habitats and corridors for wildlife, and helps our struggling bee and insect populations.

Supporting insects is of key importance given their rapid decline in the UK, which has been caused by continuing over development, habitat loss, pollution and pesticide use.

This decline is in turn having a worrying effect on other wildlife, such as hedgehogs, which are struggling to find enough insects to eat and are now classed as vulnerable to extinction.

Two-thirds of our amenity land in the UK is short-mown grass, but meadow habitats support eight times more wildlife.

Local councils are starting to make changes to their management of verges and open spaces, where assessed as road-safe to do so.

Are there more areas in your town, village or in your own garden where mowing could be reduced, to create mini meadows or wildlife corridors?

Continuing to change mowing habits, and seeing the beauty in leaving some areas less neat and tidy and more natural instead, is just one way to help our struggling insects and wildlife locally.

Providing a small water bowl in gardens, or creating hedgehog holes in fences, can also help, and lots of great ideas and resources are available from places like the Essex Wildlife Trust or from local groups such as the Feering & Kelvedon Wildlife Group.

If we can continue to change the way we use the green spaces in our towns, villages and gardens, there is huge potential to slow down or even reverse the worrying decline of our local insect and wildlife species.

Councillors Jenny Sandum and Paul Thorogood

Kelvedon & Feering Ward

Braintree District Council