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Roadside wildflower verge scheme continues to flourish

More than 50 parishes have now signed up to the project aimed at giving nature a helping hand

A wildflower verge at Thurlaston
A wildflower verge at Thurlaston

A county council initiative - which transforms roadside verges within towns and villages into wildflower areas -  is continuing to gather pace.

The initiative, a partnership with local wildlife charity NatureSpot, aims to improve biodiversity and encourage wildlife, by leaving wildflowers to flourish on urban roadside verges across Leicestershire.

More than 50 parishes have now signed up to the scheme, which involves volunteers and parishes giving their time to restore the verges, including the sowing of native wildflower seeds and learning about the local wildlife within these important habitats.

The initiative forms part of the council’s wider work to tackle climate change, including fresh proposals to make Leicestershire a net zero carbon county by 2045.

These proposals are now being consulted on and to learn more about our net zero ambitions, visit the council’s net zero web page. ​

The roadside verge scheme also has strong links to the wider environment strategy, including an ‘Action for Nature’ plan.

Under the scheme, verges are generally not mown between April and August, which allows time for the wildflowers and grasses to reach maturity and provide local species with food and habitat.

The county now has its highest number of designated wildflower verges - over 60 in total, which is more than the size of two standard football pitches.

Last year, NatureSpot recorded over 330 species across 26 different wildlife groups including wildflowers, grasses and insects, resulting in over 1900 wildlife records.

There are also plans for more community engagement this year – including verge ‘open days’, with experts inviting communities to learn how to identify and survey typical examples of species. A number of workshops are also planned.

:We’re playing our part in replacing the lost wildflower meadows of the past century and the response from parishes has been really encouraging.

We’ve lined up a lot more work out in the community this year and we’d love to see more parishes get on board.

Conserving our natural environment is a really important part of the council’s work as we play our part in tackling climate change and encouraging others to join us.

Councillor Blake Pain, county council cabinet member for the environment and green agenda

The verges in the environment project are also helping pollinating insects and are in the process of being added to a national ‘B-Lines’ project led by national conservation trust Buglife.

Expressions of interest for the 2023 scheme will be open from July to September this year. Parish councils interested in joining the scheme can contact the council’s environment team at: environmentteam@leics.gov.uk.

The annual programme of grass cutting has started across Leicestershire. Residents can check when their grass will be cut on the county council’s map.

The routine maintenance is primarily focused on roads with a speed limit of 30mph or less and sometimes the work is undertaken on the county council's behalf by the district or parish council.

 

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