PEOPLE across the borough are invited to become garden wildlife detectives by taking part in the world’s largest butterfly survey this summer.

Butterfly Conservation president Sir David Attenborough is encouraging nature lovers to take part in the Big Butterfly Count and count Commas, Marbled Whites, Small Coppers, Gatekeepers and other common butterflies over three weeks of British summertime from Saturday July 19 to August 10.

He said: “The spectacle of Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells flitting around buddleia bushes is one of the classic sights of British summertime.

“Butterflies fought back last year after a terrible 2012 but despite this, butterfly numbers were still below average. Three-quarters of the UK’s butterflies are in decline and one-third are in danger of extinction.

“This is bad news for butterflies and it is bad news for the UK’s birds, bees, bats and other wildlife. This is because butterflies are a key indicator species of the health of our environment – if they are struggling, then many other species are struggling also.

"Every single person taking part in the Big Butterfly Count this summer can produce a statistic that is of real value as their records help build a picture of how butterflies are faring and how we can best conserve them.”

Sir David is also urging gardeners to help butterflies by allowing a small patch of their garden to grow wild and those who do not have a garden can try planting wild flowers in a window box.

He added: “Just these small acts will create much needed butterfly habitat and help provide a lifeline for the UK’s back garden wildlife.”