Leicestershire County Council has become the first local authority in the midlands to join the BLUE campaign, which aims to promote biodiversity by re-introducing wildflowers and plants to roadside verges.
The BLUE campaign was started in 2014 by wildlife film maker, Fergus Beeley, in response to a report on the State of Nature published by the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology that year, which highlighted the dramatic decline in biodiversity and biomass across the UK.
A blue heart symbol, made out of recycled materials, is placed in the ground where rewilding is taking place. Currently, there are 12 wildflower verges across Leicestershire, with the county council hoping that the BLUE campaign will inspire more communities to get involved.
We take our climate and environmental responsibilities seriously. By becoming the first council in the Midlands to join this fantastic campaign we have made it clear that this council is prioritising the environment.
We have listened to what is important to our residents, and it is clear that many of them share our commitment to making Leicestershire a green place to live.
The protection of the county’s green lands and its wildlife are essential in delivering a greener future for Leicestershire. We are excited to be working with the BLUE campaign and look forward to rolling out this great initiative across Leicestershire.Person:Blake Pain, Deputy Leader of Leicestershire County Council and cabinet member for environment
This year marked the largest reduction in the areas of rural verges the county council have cut, all to allow wildflowers to thrive and encourage pollinators.
Councillor Trevor Pendleton, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Our roadsides around the county are perfect places to reintroduce and encourage more of our native plants and wildflowers. We are proud to be working with our parish councils to roll out our wildflower verge scheme, improving the biodiversity of our communities and providing vital habitats for our native species.”
Betsy Gorman, BLUE Campaign conservation officer, said; "It is it very exciting to have Leicestershire County Council on board, it shows amazing commitment from them.
"If allowed to rewild and cut less frequently, green spaces have the opportunity to support greater wildflower varieties and grass height variation, verges can be brilliant connective habitats for wildlife."
The county council’s first two cuts of rural verges in a year are for safety purposes, with only visibility splays being cut.
Earlier this month, the county council undertook their first full cut in five years after following guidance published by wildlife charity, Plantlife, which states that cutting verges improves their quality and helps promote species.