The Happy Bee Streets scheme is a way for you to improve biodiversity in your street through community weeding.
The council will support groups of residents with tools and advice to manage their pavements in ways that better support wildlife and public health. In return, their street will be taken out of the herbicide spraying schedule.
The Happy Bee Streets scheme is part of a commitment from the council in response to its declaration of a biodiversity emergency and builds on the ending herbicide use in our parks and open spaces, in partnership with Pesticide Free Cambridge and the launch of the Herbicide Reduction Plan.
To join the scheme, you and your street will need to meet the following criteria:
- your street must be in a 20mph zone, to ensure work can be carried out safely
- the other residents of your street show general support for joining the scheme and are willing to sign up to our Streets and Open Spaces volunteer scheme
- your street must not already be part of the scheme or have been rejected from it
To get started you first need to express an interest in your street being part of the scheme.
If you express an interest in your street becoming a Happy Bee Street, a Community Engagement officer will come and do a site visit and give you some guidance around how many volunteers might be needed to manage the growth on pavements by hand. They can also help with a survey to gain the support of households in the street and to help set up those who want to take part
If your street’s application is approved, we’ll expect you and the other volunteers to:
- manage unwanted weeds and plants on the pavement by hand
- work with the other volunteers to ensure your Happy Bee Street is a success
- look at other ways to improve your neighbourhood, such as:
- planting wildflowers and creating areas for wildlife
- pruning public shrub areas (but excluding anything overhanging from private gardens)
In return the council will stop spraying glyphosate-based herbicidal chemicals to control weeds on your street.
To support you in return, we will:
- provide specialist advice on biodiversity, drought resistant plants and wildlife habitat creation
- provide guidance on where more plants can be allowed to flourish, and which plants must be removed
- provide equipment to help you remove and dispose of unwanted weeds and plants
- provide a single point of contact from the Community Engagement Team for your street
We will provide public liability insurance, for your street’s Happy Bee Street volunteers’ activities, and health and safety training so that you follow the council’s risk assessments.
If we receive complaints concerning the street’s appearance, including unwanted weed and plant growth levels, we will discuss these concerns with you and give you time to remedy them before we may have to look at taking back maintenance of the street.
Verges will still be cut by the council, but Happy Bee Streets can be extended to some verge maintenance such as bulb planting and wildflower meadows.
Mechanical sweeping will still take place in the kerb channels (gutters) to ensure they’re kept clean, but no sweeping (manual or mechanical) will take place on the pavements, which will ensure that many plants will be allowed to thrive and flower
Streets and Open Spaces volunteer
Everyone who volunteers up be a part of Happy Bee Streets will be enrolled as a Streets and Open Spaces volunteer.
Being a Streets and Open Spaces volunteer means you’ll join over a hundred Cambridge residents who are committed to improving their local environment. You’ll have access to additional support and advice, and you’ll receive regular communications from us.
You can also meet other volunteers at our quarterly meet ups to swap ideas.