Saving life on the Lode

I have mentioned the biodiversity issues on one of our local fenland drains, known as the Cottenham Lode. Over the last couple of years several of us have seen Brassy Longhorn moths feeding on the Field Scabious that grows on the lode bank at the dogleg near the footbridge into the woodland at Rampton. There has been a problem with the time of the mowing of the Lode bank, which is done each year by the Environment Agency for flood risk reduction an important maintenance job, obviously.

Brassy Longhorn feeding on Field Scabious on the Cottenham Lode

The mowing is usually done in two stages a strip towards the top of the bank is mown fairly early in the summer and the lower strip and the upper strip are then mown completely towards the end of July. Unfortunately, that full cut takes with it all the field scabious flowers, which are still blooming and with it the insect life that had until that point been thriving on the flowers. It is a crying shame one might say, especially in an age when conservation and biodiversity are high on the agenda.

I have great news to report. I have been in discussions with the Environment Agency who have now agreed to defer the first cut of the lode bank until no earlier than the week commencing 16th August this year and a similar date for future years. This means that the second, full, which takes in all of the lower part where the field scabious grow will be later still.

This will hopefully give the insect life and the wildflowers a better chance before the blades fall on them each year. So thank you to Alex Malcolm and Neil Stuttle at the EA for listening to my argument and finding a solution.