AN ENVIRONMENTAL group is stepping up its campaign to ‘re-wild’ roadside verges around Otley.

Wildlife Friendly Otley wants to boost local biodiversity by changing the way Leeds City Council manages verges and green spaces in the town.

Currently, roadside verges are mowed up to 14 times a year by the council’s Parks and Countryside department: which the group says results in ‘sterile, close-cropped grass’ which creates a ‘wildlife desert’.

Instead, it is lobbying for the authority to adopt a relaxed mowing policy which would allow pollinating insects and wildflowers to thrive.

Now Otley resident and Wildlife Friendly Otley member Jane Smith, with the help of fellow member Nic Shipp, has produced a short video report about the damage that can be caused by too frequent mowing - and the benefits of rewildling.

The film has been submitted to the Leeds Climate Emergency Commission which was was set up by the city council last year to drive forward its plan to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Commenting on the video, which can be viewed at, Jane said: “Reducing damage to our natural environment and helping biodiversity is an integral part of tackling climate change.

“Relaxed mowing elsewhere in Leeds is very successful and could be easily extended to include Otley, which has large public support for it.

“The money that would be saved could be utilised for other climate saving measures and teams of experienced volunteers would be happy to become involved in wildlife monitoring and grass and verge management.

“It would be a win for wildlife, Otley people, the council and the climate emergency.

“And, unlike some other actions to reduce the impact of climate change, it’s easy and it can save the cash-strapped council much needed money.”

The video can also be viewed directly on YouTube at