A brimstone butterfly
Thousands of trees are to be planted in Hull to encourage a rise in numbers of the brimstone butterfly.

Hull is to become the country’s first ‘butterfly city’

Hull is bidding to become the UK’s first “butterfly city”.

A new project will see at least 3,000 trees planted in the city to encourage a rise in numbers of the striking brimstone butterfly and help halt biodiversity loss.

The push is being led by Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy after a dramatic decline in numbers of the brightly coloured insects across Europe over the past few decades.

Alongside the HEYwoods initiative, 2,000 alder buckthorn and purging buckthorn trees will be planted across Hull this winter, mainly by schools as part of the wider tree-planting initiative in the city.

And Hull City Council’s Leader, Councillor Stephen Brady, has pledged the cost of 1,000 buckthorn whips, which will be distributed by community groups for a “people’s planting” week at the end of November.

Cllr Brady said: “We are thrilled to be supporting the butterfly city project. For us, the project is about connecting people in Hull with nature, showing people how easy it is for us all to take positive action to improve our local environment for both ourselves and nature.”

The planting will help contribute to Hull City Council’s commitment to the city becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.

The brimstone butterfly, which is a Hull Biodiversity Action Plan species, is distinctive leaf-shaped yellow butterfly seen most often in early spring. The male is sulphur yellow in colour while the female is a pale lemon.

Brimstone are only found near buckthorn, which the larvae feeds on. The alder also provided a nectar source for bees and other invertebrates.

Cllr Brady said: “We all have an important role to play in safeguarding our natural environment. Communities and businesses are encouraged to get involved and become butterfly champions. Just one buckthorn plant is all it takes to make a difference.

“We want to be the city that inspires others to make small changes to support nature and halt the decline in species while helping to create a healthier and happier environment for ourselves and the next generation.”

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