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Resurgence of wildflowers for Powys roadsides

Image of a grass verge

2 June 2020

Image of a grass vergeWith 127 Roadside Verge Nature Reserves (RVNR's) on the county road network Powys roads are seeing an abundance of biodiversity this spring.

Powys County Council, along with contractors, work hard to conserve the wildlife inhabiting the roadsides of the county. A number of current initiatives are underway to leave whole sections of verges uncut or with their own individual management plans to benefit the species present on that site.

Steps to ensure the preservation of a wide range of wildlife on the county's verges include timing scheduled grass cuts to prolong nesting and breeding seasons in many species of animals and birds, and to allow flowers to set seed and invertebrates, such as butterflies, to complete their life cycles.

Rural grass verge cutting is limited to one cut in June/July and is restricted to a width of 1.2m, with additional cutting only at junctions or if there are visibility issues.

Urban grass verges (highway verges within a 30mph speed limit on county roads) are receiving a safety cut, which is a 1.2m width cut along footpaths and junctions for maintenance and visibility purposes.

Clr Heulwen Hulme, Cabinet Member for Environment says: "Maintaining grass verges is a balance between ensuring the safety of road and path users is not compromised and preserving wildlife. However, with careful management, it is possible to do both.

"The urban grass verges are where we are keen to make even more changes to the way they have previously been managed. By working with local groups and community and town councils, we can identify areas that can be left uncut, making improvements year-on-year on the number of areas designated for conserving biodiversity in the county."

Cllr Beverley Baynham, Chair of Powys Count Council and an advocate of the initiative says: "Getting involved with identifying areas where grass verges in your area can be managed to increase their biodiversity is really beneficial to our local environments.

"In Presteigne, the town council have been working with the council to identify areas designated to be cut later than usual to allow wildflowers and seeds to multiply. This will provide food for and encourage the bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects."

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