Road verges in the time of Coronavirus
There are over 700 species of wild flower growing on the UK’s road verges, nearly 45% of our total flora. Where wild flowers lead, wildlife follows!
The following message is from Kate Petty, Road Verge Campaign Manager at Plant Life. To find out more about the Road Verge Campaign visit: https://plantlife.love-wildflowers.org.uk/roadvergecampaign
“In these challenging times, wild flowers on our verges and waysides are an uplifting sight, contributing significantly to our wellbeing. It’s been wonderful to see on social media many photos of botanical gems that people have spotted whilst out for their daily exercise; there is some solace to be found in nature.
Roads have fallen quiet as lockdown is observed, as has the drone of many councils’ mowers. Councils are under considerable pressure due to the Coronavirus crisis and many have understandably reduced grass cutting down to essential management to maintain visibility and ensure road safety. There’s hope that reduced cutting frequencies might be a silver lining for verge wild flowers, giving once-familiar flowers, such as white campion, betony, greater knapweed and harebell, the chance to grow, flower and set seed.
As well allowing precious wild flowers the opportunity to thrive, reducing cutting and adopting a more wildlife-friendly management regime will also help tackle the climate crisis. Over 300 local authorities have now declared a climate emergency, so sustaining reduced cutting regimes, as recommended in our management guidelines, will also help councils bring down carbon emissions. We’ll do our best in the coming months to support councils in their efforts to improve verge management, and make sure we’re doing all we can to save and protect these under-appreciated, yet abundant, strips. Hopefully this summer our verges will be awash with wild flowers and we look forward to a time when we are able to get out and fully enjoy them again.”
Posted on 17th April 2020