At next Wednesday’s meeting of the Performance Management Scrutiny Committee, Viv Parry will challenge Shropshire Council on its verge mowing policy. Until ten days ago, we had a great array of wildflowers on verges in and around Ludlow. The verges had not been mown for weeks due to the Covid-19 emergency. Wildflowers decorated verges, bringing colour to road edges and supporting biodiversity. But in the last ten days, verges around Ludlow have been mowed flat and in the warmth of late May and late June have become parched. Uninteresting to the eye. Impoverished for biodiversity.

Road safety must always take precedence but there are many verges that do not need to be cut. Reducing mowing will save money, boost biodiversity and bring some colour to our verges.

Sheet Road verges this morning. Why is the verge on the right mowed more than once a year?
The same area of verge on 11 May

Plantlife has been running a campaign to promote wildlife friendly verges for several years. I supported that back in 2018 with a question to Shropshire Council. I received a disappointing response from Shropshire Council. Two years on, we are more aware than ever of the biodiversity crisis and the need to protect pollinators. I hope that Viv will receive a more useful response this time and Shropshire Council stops mowing verges where it does not need to.

Question on roadside verges from Councillor Vivienne Parry

This spring, we have all been treated to a delightful display of wildflowers on our roadside verges.  But in the last ten days, they have been mown into oblivion. The verges are now nothing other than parched grass. Most of the wildflowers had not had time to reseed for next year.

Why do we do this?

As a driver, I know that safety is vital. We must mow the edges of roads and the corners to ensure that drivers can see and drive safely.

Every year, verges and areas that don’t need to be mowed for safety reasons are mowed. This council seems to be carry on regardless. We need our wildflowers.

Mowing costs this council money at a time when we are always trying to balance our budget.

Why can’t we mow less? And promote biodiversity at the same time.

Can officers bring forward a policy for reducing the mowing of roadside verges and any other areas the council mows? At the same time, can the council tell everyone why we are not mowing these areas? That we are helping to save our planet?

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