Gold Medallists Sought For Blooming Road Verges
13th August 2012
The Highland Council wants members of the public to let them know where the most flowery road verges are in their local area with a view of looking to change cutting regimes to maximise the variety of flowers growing there.
Chairman of TEC Services Committee, Councillor Graham Phillips said: "Safety is of course of paramount importance on roads, so cutting regimes will only be altered when it is safe to do so. All the verges along sightlines and at junctions will remain cut short, however there are lots of other areas that could have their cutting regime altered to benefit the wildflowers there, which will in turn the insects that feed on them. We are not asking for a detailed report, just a quick and easy survey of the variety of colours you see as you pass by in a car or walking."
The proposed changes in management are having a single cut with either an early, or a late summer cut and also varying the height of the flail so that low growing species aren't cut but the taller, more competitive species are. The changes in management are likely to be cost neutral, but will benefit the biodiversity of the verges particularly the plants and their pollinators such as; bees, butterflies and moths.
Scotland TranServ who manage the verges on the trunk roads in Highland have altered their cutting regime and some sites such as the A830 at Corpach and the A9 Causeymire, have had fantastic displays of wildflowers in the verges due to this. There has also been a trial on some of the Council maintained roads in Caithness through an initiative between the Caithness Biodiversity Group and The Highland Council, which again has resulted is some great displays of wildflowers on the verges.
Anyone wishing to take part should send the information about the best road verges in their area to the Council's Biodiversity Officer, Jonathan Willet. He said: "Most verges have white and yellow flowers on them, but there are also red, blue, violet and pink that are commonly seen. If you know of verges that are good for orchids or Cuckoo Flower or other flowers that are out earlier in the year then you can let us know about them as well."
Jonathan will need details on the location, either a name or number, the road junction it is nearest to, or a grid reference and a description of the variety of colours or species of flowers found there. He can be contacted by telephoning 01463 702274 or e-mailing jonathan.willet[AT]highland.gov.uk
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