Herefordshire Council and its partner, Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP), are working together this spring and summer to maintain roadside verges in a way that will ensure the safety of road users while improving local biodiversity.

Road verge flora is deteriorating in many parts of the UK, with the decline, in part, down to the way we cut and manage verge habitat. Across the UK, cutting generally begins in the spring and is repeated in the summer so that few plants have a chance to set seed before the mowers return.

Combined with the practice of leaving cut vegetation to rot down in situ, this has caused a decline in roadside species and an increase in weed species such as nettles, cow parsley and hogweed, which is bad news for wildflower numbers and diversity.

It is also bad for populations of bees, beetles and butterflies that rely on these plants for food, and for the birds that eat these invertebrates.

A rural county like Herefordshire has the opportunity to value our verges by encouraging the verge to become a natural habitat for a wide range of plants, flowers, insects and other animals.

Ross Cook, Herefordshire Council Corporate Director of Economy and Environment, said: ‚ÄúThe council and BBLP have been working with the group Verging on Wild for a number of years to improve how we manage our roadside verges. We first and foremost need to keep our roads safe, but it‚Äôs possible to do this in a way that also promotes biodiversity.‚ÄĚ

You can report overgrown verges that are affecting visibility via the council website or by calling 01432 261800.

You can find out the latest grass cutting schedule and other services on the Herefordshire Council website or by following Herefordshire Highways on Facebook or @HfdsStreets on Twitter.

Verging on Wild are working to reinstate a number of the best wild flower verges in the county, called Roadside Verge Nature Reserves (RVNRs). Anybody interested in becoming a verge guardian and helping to look after a listed verge can contact Verging on Wild by emailing suzanne@lowerhazlefarm.co.ukannecrane59@gmail.com or sally@sallywebster.net.