What is the issue? Any plans to increase and restore biodiversity within our community must include a focus on the way we manage our road verges. Our verges form just a small part of a huge national network over 300,000 miles in length, providing vital habitats for numerous species of plants and animals, a haven for over 700 species of wild flower and ready-made wildlife corridors.
Yet the way we currently manage our verges unintentionally reduces this richness of life year by year. Research shows that most verges are cut too often and at the wrong time in the natural cycle of plants. Excessive cutting does not allow the plants to flower or set seed and also does not provide refuge for birds, reptiles and insects.
What can be done? Gloucestershire County Council is responsible for the management of our verges, delegating their upkeep along the lanes and smaller roads within our Parish to the local Council. Using guidance on verge management provided by the charity, PlantLife, the Council is currently exploring ways to restore and improve our verges, whilst maintaining safety for all road users, by:
- Cutting them less often.
- Removing the cuttings where ever possible to reduce fertility.
- Raising the height of the cutting bar or strimmer wherever possible to protect and encourage plants, insects and small animals.
ChalCAN’s aims. In order to try and achieve greater biodiversity within our Parish, we are fully committed to supporting the Parish Council and aim to:
- Work with the Parish Council to develop a strategic plan for management of verges and green spaces within our villages
- Help raise awareness within the community of the benefits of these changes- through the website, information boards, meetings etc.
- Develop pilot sites to illustrate what can be done. The verges at Abnash and Parish bank have already been adopted with pleasing and sometimes dramatic results.
- Provide volunteers whenever possible: the removal of cuttings, initially at least, may well prove very labour-intensive.
- Work with external organisations for advice on the best ways to support these important areas.
Please do contact ChalCAN if you know of verges you think we can develop further, or if you wish to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more have a look on the following sites: