British conservation charity Plantlife’s Road Verge Campaign started in 2013 in response to protests from the public horrified by the sight of wildflowers being mown down.
Plantlife is campaigning to transform over 300,000 miles of rural road verge in the UK which is the equivalent of half of our remaining flower-rich grasslands and meadows: their potential is enormous. With over 700 species and nearly 45% of our total flora found on our road verges, this campaign is very close to our hearts and one we are proud to support.
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. To date, 128,000 signatures of support have been obtained, and you can add your voice here.
The campaign is extremely comprehensive, 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 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 within their information hub.