Wildflower meadow boosts biodiversity in Halton
A wildflower meadow planted by the Mersey Gateway Project is boosting biodiversity in Halton.
Merseylink’s Environment team has created a sustainable wildflower meadow at Clifton roundabout in Runcorn (Junction 12 of the M56) as part of the bridge project’s long-term landscaping works.
It will provide a much needed haven for wildlife, linking two important local habitats; Floodbrook Clough, an ancient semi-natural woodland that is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Clifton lagoons, another site valued for its botanical interest.
The meadow is already providing a colourful summer spectacle, packed full of native wildflower species including red poppies, white camomiles, blue cornflowers and yellow corn marigolds.
The seed mix was chosen specifically to attract pollinators such as butterflies and bees, which thrive on these flowers when they are in bloom. The seeds were sourced from local environmental charity Landlife, based at the National Wildflower Centre in Knowsley.
Hayley Percival, Merseylink’s Environmental Assistant and coordinator of the wildflower scheme, said: “With around 97 per cent of native wildflower meadows reported to have been lost in the UK, re-wilding schemes like this are extremely important for creating a resilient ecological network.
“Supporting the local natural environment and enhancing biodiversity is something that Merseylink is extremely committed to. Wildflower meadows not only provide beautiful visual displays but they are also an important haven for wildlife.
She added: “These particular seeds are self-generating so with a bit of careful management they will come back year on year creating a habitat where nature can flourish.”
Construction joint venture Merseylink worked in partnership with the Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust on the wildflower scheme. The Trust is a unique charity set up to protect and enhance the environment of the Upper Mersey Estuary.
Yousuf Shaikh, chair of the Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust, said: “The introduction of this wildflower meadow is a lovely example of how biodiversity enhancement can fit into to a major development project. This showcase of wildlife good practice fits into one of the Trust’s main aims to ensure the Mersey Gateway Project is a visionary example of environmental management for future major construction projects.”