Sunday, 13 April 2014

Road verges are important

Another quick post - preserve our road verges! Find out more and sign a petition here.

From the organisers:
"We aim to make councils and other highways authorities take better decisions when it comes to road verge management. Plantlife’s vision for our road network is to see good management for all verges, wherever possible, conserving good verges and allowing new flower-rich ones to develop over time. One estimate suggests that there might be as many as 600,000 acres of habitat along our road network, equivalent in area to the Public Forest Estate in England, or the counties of Northamptonshire or the East Riding of Yorkshire.  With good management, imagine the diversity of wild flowers and animals that such a resource could harbour. After all, road verges are the life-giving arteries across the countryside, linking habitats and acting as vital corridors allowing wildlife to thrive and spread. They also represent an ever-more irreplaceable remnant of our native grasslands in a countryside that has lost so much in our quest for cost-effective modern farming and cheap food.
Flower-rich grassland verges do need management through mowing, either very early in the year or from mid-summer onwards, but all too often flower-filled verges are cut down in their prime, depriving insects of pollen and nectar, reducing our wild flowers’ ability to spread by seed, and weakening the actual plants themselves.  Sometimes there are very good visibility and safety issues that necessitate such action, but all-too-often such clearance is done through mere expediency and to satisfy the more tidy-minded members of society.  Plantlife is campaigning to stop this wholly unnecessary destruction through its Flowers on the Edge campaign. Your help is essential in allowing us to achieve our aims, and you can help in a number of ways: 
Take ‘before’ and ‘after’ images of your local roadside verges. For example, a beautiful swathe of cow parsley and red campion cut down in its prime to a stark, dull and lifeless verge. Such images provide powerful evidence of the brutal and unnecessary mowing down of our verges and are essential to help us in our campaign to make councils change their ways.
Write directly to your council, using our template found here and remind them of our four key points to roadside maintenance: 
  • avoid cutting verges during the four month period when wild flowers are growing, flowering and seeding;
  • if at all possible, rake cut material to stop this smothering the live vegetation, and to create bare patches for future colonisation by seed;
  • maximise the area of verges cut in a sustainable manner in order to create corridors of habitat that can act as corridors for colonisation by both plants and animals; and
  • avoid unnecessary planting of trees and shrubs, and sowing of wild flower seed mixes.  In most areas, trees will naturally colonise road verges, whilst cars are surprisingly effective at spreading seed of wild flowers ‘naturally’ within their slipstreams.
Tell us about highway authorities that are doing a good job of managing your roadside flowers.
And, of course, we would be delighted if you become a member of Plantlife, so that we can continue essential conservation work to stop common flowers becoming ever rarer, and threatened species becoming extinct. Please send your before and after images to us. With your help we really can keep colour in our countryside."


Anonymous said...

This might be of interest
I'm not sure how to make it link

CIN said...

Great, many thanks - we'll mention it in a blog post too. Cofion, CIN

Anonymous said...

I love seeing all the wild flowers in the hedgerows.