Wildlife and pollinator corridors

Particularly in summer closely mown parks, lawns, and amenity spaces can emit carbon due to drying and exposure of soil. The best way to stop this is to relax mowing at these times, and allow more flowering.

If this isn’t possible then planting wildflower verges and creating green corridors that link up through a city can help. This also provides food, shelter and safe passage for wildlife, bees and other insects.

Rotherham

Since 2013 Rotherham council have planted 8 miles of wildflower verges which has attracted pollinators, awards and lots of praise from visitors and locals alike. It also saved around £25,000 in mowing costs per each two-year cycle.

“People call it the river of flowers,” says councillor Sarah Green, who holds the city’s portfolio for Cleaner, Greener Communities. “The road is a gateway to the city, and the change has been a fabulous thing, which people have really got behind. It’s provided a much-needed source of nectar for pollinators and has created an uplifting spectacle.”

However, it is important to use native species of wildflowers as much as possible, to maximize biodiversity.

Highways England

Since 2015 Dorset roadside verges have been cut only twice a year, rather than 12, and the clippings collected rather than left to add fertility to the soil. The results have been a £70 000 annual saving from the County Council's budget, and a huge increase in biodiversity: more than half of the species of butterfly known to inhabit Britain have now been recorded on some road verges.

Watching on, Highways England have decided that native wildflower meadows will line the banks of all new large-scale road projects.

Under the new policy, contractors will have to create conditions for species-rich grasslands to thrive using low fertility soils with chalk and limestone bases. The verges will then be allowed to regenerate naturally or be seeded with wildflowers such as blue harebells, yellow kidney vetch and bird’s-foot-trefoil.

The UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s, and the move could create substantial areas of rare habitat along hundreds of miles of motorways and A-roads for pollinators such as bees, bats and birds.

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