York Green Party

Breakdown in Council communications threatens rare species

15 August 2014

Tansy beetle on tansy plant

The beautiful emerald green tansy beetle, which feeds exclusively on the tansy plant, is only found along a stretch of the Ouse around York measuring less than 30 miles. The beetle used to thrive on a clumps of tansy along New Walk, between the Blue Bridge and Millennium Bridge, but repeated strimming of the banks almost destroyed the plant and the beetles. This year, Friends of New Walk and the Tansy Beetle Action Group had come to an agreement with the Council not to cut the vegetation at these key areas of the bankside, and the tansy plant had been recovering well.

Shockingly, at the beginning of August, the banks were completely shorn and the tansy destroyed. A Council employee claimed that he had never received instructions to leave that strip uncut, and as a result 57 clumps of tansy have been left to wither.

"Although the plants will grow back, the beetles cannot survive their food source being repeatedly removed like this," said Councillor D'Agorne. "The York area is privileged to be the only place in the UK where these beetles live. The Council has its chance to play an important part in maintaining biodiversity, and yet due to basic lack of communication, precious habitat has been demolished."

Councillor D'Agorne went on to say, "If it can't manage something as simple as leaving a strip of bank uncut, what confidence can we have in it managing vital community services or introducing much needed and effective changes to working practices across the Council?"

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