With over 86,000 signature’s and counting, Plantlife has written an open letter to Councils within the UK, encouraging the adoption of several basic principles to improve the nation’s verges, bringing benefits for wildlife for generations to come.
Over 700 species and nearly 45% of our total flora are found on our road verges, and so this is a campaign that is very close to our hearts and one we are proud to support.
The Open Letter reads as follows:
Please adopt Plantlife’s guidelines for managing road verges to benefit wild flowers and other nature. I know that road verges are under considerable pressure. Priorities for safety and access, along with budget constraints and difficulties with the collection of litter and grass clippings can mean that enhancing their wildlife value is often low on the list. But we believe that the adoption of a few basic principles will improve our verges for nature, bringing benefits for wildlife, for us and for future generations.
Someone who cares about wildlife on our verges
The comprehensive campaign has been gathering momentum with Best Practice Guidelines (available here) published in September 2019. The Guidelines provide practical advice on how local authorities can fulfil their biodiversity duties whilst reducing management burdens over time.
In particular, the campaign is recommending that councils cut verges less (only once or twice per year) and to change the timing of cutting from spring to late summer or autumn. If you’re currently cutting verges three or more times a year, you could actually save money by reducing the number of cuts. The campaign uses Dorset Council as an example, citing an estimated saving of £100,000 since 2014 as a result of, among other things, fewer cuts of road verges.
The campaign is also keen to make use of case studies from councils and regularly feature real-life examples of how good management is already being implemented on the ground within their information hub. (If you’d like to feature your own case study, showing what is being done by your council, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org)