Most of our grassland road verges are mown, often too frequently, and the cuttings are rarely removed. The result is that most wildflowers get smothered and only the vigorous ones survive.
Changing to a mowing regime where the cuttings are removed transforms verges into grasslands that naturally support a much wider range of wildflowers, whether in towns or rural areas. This and other changes benefiting wildlife, and the principles behind why they work, together with case studies, are now available in Plantlife’s guidance.
Plantlife have worked with Butterfly Conservation, Highways England, Kier, local authorities, Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, Skanska, The Wildlife Trusts, Transport Scotland, and Welsh Government to produce this guidance. It replaces the wildflower handbook in the Design Manual for Roads & Bridges
Many Local Authorities and contractors choose to partner with local delivery organisations. Case studies of how this works in practice and the benefits of partnership working can be found on the Wildlife Trust website.
Road Verge Conference
Butterfly Conservation, The Wildlife Trusts and Natural England organised a symposium on road verges in September 2019, the first since the 1960s, to share best practice from projects and initiatives around the UK. The presentations and a summary of the workshops from 'Managing road-side verges for biodiversity in times of austerity' is available here.