We noticed that the council was mowing the area which our local Glow Worm colony likes to use for their breeding activity and dazzling displays. Valuable habitat destruction on our doorstep! We had to act, so we started our Glow Not Mow campaign, to save Brighton’s Glow Worm colony…
What We Saw Happen To Brighton’s Glow Worms
The most active time for Glow Worms (Lampyris noctiluca) usually lasts from 20th June to around the 20th July. This is when we can hold the Nature Nightclub Glow Worm Safari events. After our first couple of visits to the colony in 2019, we noticed that the local council’s mowing team had been through the areas and cut down all the long grass!
Our little gang of glowers have chosen some council managed grass verges to do their thing. Following the grass verge mowing, we saw that the number of Glow Worms active in the area, had significantly reduced on the nights after.
What We Did To Save Glow Worms In Brighton
We decided that a ‘Glow Not Mow’ campaign to lobby our local council was the answer. To raise awareness for this local Glow Worm colony in Brighton; and request a halt on mowing during their breeding season.
In the first instance we made contact with a couple of staff we know at the local council and also Sussex Wildlife Trust. Following some great guidance from these people, persistence and repetitive emailing to the council; we got through to the right person and achieved our goal!
During our quest two things soon became apparent. 1) the council and local ranger did not know about the Glow Worm colony living in Brighton’s grass verges; and 2) our local Wildlife Trust reps and the areas “Friends of” group did not know either. This isn’t a huge surprise, as Glow Worms don’t currently hold any protected status and there is another larger Glow Worm colony in the area; that tends to get a bit more press coverage.
How Our Wildlife Trust Helped ‘Glow Not Mow’
Meeting at one of the Brighton Hit Squad events, our terrific local projects officer from Sussex Wildlife Trust (Huw Morgan) gave us a great deal of encouragement and support for this. He put us in touch with the local Council Ranger covering the area of green land that is linked to the verges.
Brighton & Hove Council Use ‘Glow Not Mow’
Although they were aware of the better known Glow Worm colony in Brighton & Hove (mentioned above); Brighton & Hove Council were not aware of this colony, until we brought it to their attention.
Covering the wildlife area in question, the local Ranger also gave us great support; in our endeavour to save the local Glow Worm colony in Brighton. Making contact with the Mowing Team, putting a halt on mowing this important habitat between 1st June and 31st July.
Confirmation that Brighton & Hove Council are making changes to protect Glow Worms by taking on our Glow Not Mow policy!
Keeping Brighton’s Glow Worms Safe
We are well aware that this policy needs to be upheld; and also has a much wider scope to help other wildlife, on other council managed land. From our own research the Bioblitzr team has established that there is no current mowing schedule in Brighton & Hove, that accounts for the wildlife that is inhabiting the land.
We are in talks with the council to implement a system, which can ensure that wildlife habitat destruction is kept to a minimum. When it comes to the their grass cutting and mowing activities on verges, roundabouts and the likes.
Join Our Glow Not Mow Campaign
Do you know of a Glow Worm colony that inhabits an area of council managed land? Join our campaign to help support Glow Worms in your area. Lobby your council and bring your local colony to their attention. Ask them to put a halt on mowing of Glow Worm breeding grounds every year; during this most important period for our fluorescent friends (1st June to 31st July).
Keeps us posted on what you get up to via social media; and show your support for Glow Not Mow by using the hashtag #GlowNotMow
Glow Worm Conservation Status
Currently these little light-up beauties are not protected in the UK. Their numbers are not deemed to be significantly low enough, or their habitats endangered; in that a protection status needs to be applied. Well, if local councils keep destroying their breeding habitat in the middle of the season, this is unlikely to continue to be the case.
There has been evidence that suggests a decline in Glow Worm populations, not just in Britain, but in the whole of Europe. Currently sightings reported for the UK appear to be predominantly in the South and Wales. Only through recording wildlife sightings can we build a true picture of what is happening to these small but en-lightening creatures.
Send your Glow Worm sightings to the national database using this specific Glow Worm Sighting Form.
Glow Worms & Street Lights
Research is also being done in Sussex, to explore the impact of street lighting on the breeding habits of Glow Worms. We will be taking this up with the council in due course… watch this space!
Nature Nighclub: Glow Worm Safari
If you’d like to come and see these Glow Worms in Brighton & Hove, join our next Glow Worm Safari.