Plans to create wildlife corridors by cutting grass verges less frequently have been welcomed by county councillors … as long as residents and motorists don’t think the patches of land have been abandoned.
The new policy will mean selected stretches along rural roads will only be cut once each year - in August or September - with the aim of encouraging the flowering and seeding of wildflowers.
It is also planned to introduce a community engagement scheme for some verges in twins and villages where reduced mowing could be introduced to either promote the existing flora and fauna to flourish or to to allow wildflower areas to be sown.
Members of Warwickshire County Council’s communities overview and scrutiny committee were largely in favour of the plans when the item was raised at their meeting this week.
Cllr Tim Sinclair (Con, Stratford North) said: “The National Trust do this very well in my experience. They do it beautifully and it is a real addition to their landscape and I suspect that is something that residents will appreciate - something that was a positive amenity to them rather than just an improvement to biodiversity for flora and fauna.”
Cllr Jonathan Chilvers (Green, Leamington, Brunswick) added: “This is a really welcome policy. I did a survey of my residents - it was divisive, with people having strong opinions, but it came back with about 70 per cent who wanted the verges to grow and the other 30 per cent wanted them to be ‘tidy’
“In the parks where you have a wildflower meadow, you need to sign it or to have well cut grass around it to be clear that it has not been abandoned. There might be a case for us to have a sign available especially in the early days just to say this area is being cut less often and that it hasn’t been abandoned.”
A report from council officers explained: “The policy will allow county highways to establish a regime of verge maintenance that will not only ensure road safety is upheld but will enable verges to be maintained in a manner that promotes biodiversity by conserving, wherever possible, special wildlife habitats and wildflowers.”