Brighton residents complain green policies used for ‘manifesting neglect’

Brighton residents have complained that the city’s rewilding policies have been used “for manifesting neglect”.

The city, located on the verdant Sussex coast, is surrounded by countryside and the only area in the UK supported by a Green Party MP.

But policies designed to help cultivate green spaces have become controversial, with some areas becoming increasingly messy.

Weeds and grass are showing up, untended, through concrete pavements and creating obstacles for residents.

Lesley Fallowfield told The Guardian she feared the policy was being used for “manifesting neglect” following a trip to A&E caused by overgrown vegetation.

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She said: “I’m fully supportive of eco-friendly policies generally, but they shouldn’t be used for just manifesting neglect.”

Ms Fallowfield wore an orthopaedic boot and crutches for six weeks after she was tripped up on the pavement outside her home by weeds sprouting between her pavement tiles.

Beyond being an injury risk, the Brighton local said the grass would put off potential homebuyers.

She has lived in her Brighton home for 30 years and said she wouldn’t consider residing in the city if she were an outsider considering the move today.

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Ms Fallowfield said: “I think it looks terrible. It would put me off buying a property here.”

Rewilding has become an increasingly popular policy in recent years, touted by organisations like Rewilding Britain as a method for battling the climate emergency.

The policy aims for the “large-scale restoration of nature” to cultivate biodiversity and help solve pertinent environmental issues by reintroducing plants and animals to areas they would have previously inhabited.

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But it has also attracted its fair share of critics, namely celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh.

In a letter to the House of Lords in July, Mr Titchmarsh dubbed rewilding an “ill-considered trend”, suggesting that leaving gardens to grow without intervention would prove harmful.

He told the Lords Horticultural Committee: “A ‘rewilded’ garden will offer nothing but straw and hay from August to March. A four-month flowering season is the norm.”

Other gardeners have accused Mr Titchmarsh of misunderstanding the process, as rewilding does not demand people leave their gardens altogether, rather it asks gardeners to allocate specific areas for natural, untouched growth.

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