Speak up for grassy and flowery road verges

Road verges form a significant wildlife resource in Rushcliffe, as well as providing interconnectivity for a variety of species – whether it is the wide tall grass and Cow Parsley verges in the south of Rushcliffe or pretty daisy/dandelion flower dotted verges. All have a value for a variety invertebrates, small mammals and birds etc, as well as looking grand.

The Highways Agency are responsible for mowing trunk roads (A453, A52, A46) and have a complex mowing policy involving six different categories !.

But the all other  A rand rural B roads and minor rural roads are the responsibility of Notts County Council, apart from verges in villages (Parish Councils). The standard NCC regime is a 1.2  meter wide cut along the road edge twice per year, with a full width verge cut once every three years, but visibility areas at junctions etc are cut more frequently. In addition NCC manage some small verges designated as Notified Road Verges with a single annual cut (not a cheap otion). There are three NRV`s in Rushcliffe that are part of this programme and they are signed.

With all the talk of No Mow May it is worth remembering that, yes some verges will get mown in May, BUT they shouldn`t then get mown again for at least a couple of months. During that time low growing flowers such as Dandelion, Speedwell, Self Heal etc etc will get a chance to flower in areas where they are not having to compete so much with the more vigorous plants such as Cow Parsley , Red Campion and the taller grasses. But these more denser growth areas can support a different range of insects and provide cover for small mammals. These variations in habitat are important, providing opportunities for different species. So overall this is not a bad regime and reasonably inline with Plantlife guidance on a compromise mowing regime.

But it is fair to say that not everybody see it that way, some see it as untidy or as cost cutting. The point is people do write in and complain, getting councillors attention. So it is incumbent on fans of flowery, abundant roadsides to also write into councillors praising verges that are looking good, grumbling about verges cut in their prime, making the case for restraining the mowers or to julp up and down if you think  a verge is being over mown.

But whilst it is County Councillors who can most influence mowing policy, Rushcliffe councillors will also get adverse comments about verges and will discus them with their county counterparts, so we would advocate contacting both your Borough Councillors and County Councilor

Whether you are pleased with how verges look, or feel they could do better stand up and be counted for wildlife friendly road verges.

Gordon Dyne (RNCSIG)

County Council Verge Management (all other A Roads + B and minor roads)

Rural verges have a 1.2 meter cut along the road edge twice per year, with a full            width cut once every three years. Visibility areas at junctions etc are cut more  frequently.

Selected Notified Road Verges are managed with a single annual cut in late summer/autumn with arisings removed.

But Parish councils often take responsibility for verges in villages.

On occasions house owners/landowners choose to mow verges in front of their property

Highways Agency Verge Management on Trunk Roads (A453, A52, A46)

Generally speaking grass is divided into visibility, amenity and swathe, along with wildflower and open grassland management.

  • Visibility = 3 times pa
  • Amenity = 8 times pa
  • Swathe = annually
  • Signs, lamp columns etc.
  • Wildflower =  annually
  • Open grassland – full cut every 5 years