Resident bee initiative mown away by council

Photo: Marjolein Toonen
Photo: Marjolein Toonen

Local nature-lovers and the Amsterdam branch of the pro-animal PvdD have raised concerns after a special ‘bee line’ of flowers was mown away by a council contractor.

PvdD councillor Anke Bakker was so concerned when she heard that a two-year residents’ greening initiative in Nieuw-Sloten had apparently been devastated – despite council signs – that she questioned the council leadership about it.

She said that after a series of formal written answers earlier this month, blaming weed-removal works commissioned by local water board Waternet and an ignorant contractor, more needs to happen to protect local initiatives.

‘The municipality seems to be completely mired in bureaucracy,’ she said in an email. ‘If things aren’t right in the computer, things go wrong in practice. This is a case in point of: computer says no.’

She points out that in an area where residents had planted wild flowers to encourage bees, the area was flattened less than a week after the council itself had placed a board asking for it to be left alone.

‘The problem is that there is no communication between the city council and concerned residents who are just as committed to green issues,’ added Bakker. ‘And it’s not just a mistake in Nieuw-Sloten. This summer, a park designed and managed by residents in Noord was almost mown flat. And an ARK nature protection zone was destroyed during the breeding season in the Diemerpark.’

Photo: Marjolein Toonen

Local resident Marjolein Toonen, volunteer ambassador for sustainability in her neighbourhood in Nieuw-Sloten, said that wild flowers they planted for the bees simply needed more time to come into flower rather than being mown away.

‘We have been working on making an area to attract bees through the whole neighbourhood for two years, but in June 2021, they mowed away a whole area, without any discussion with us because they thought the flowers weren’t coming up enough,’ she said. ‘But in the bit that they forgot to mow, they grew up beautifully.

‘They treated another area for Waternet, but it probably needs to be done again next year….hopefully before all plants come up. There was no “sorry” – in fact some council workers were annoyed that I had complained because it was taking them a lot of time to deal with.’

Amsterdam council, which has just published a new policy aiming to ensure that nature in the city is better protected, did not have any further comment for

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