Let it grow! Roadside verges become mini-meadows for wildflowers and bees
by Katie Jones
What's Going On Here?
The coronavirus lockdown has meant that councils haven’t mowed roadside verges and mini-meadows have been left to bloom all across the UK!
What Does This Mean?
One in five of wildflowers in the UK are now endangered and 97% of meadows have disappeared since the 1930s. Roadside verges are a stretch of hope for Britain’s increasingly depleting wildlife habitats. They form a massive 238,000 hectares of potential meadow land, compared to just 85,000 hectares of surviving species-rich grassland, but their potential is usually cut back each spring when local councils mow the roadsides before they have a chance to flower and seed.
Later this summer, we will get a glimpse of what could be as verges are left to grow and declining bee populations enjoy a bumper crop of blooms.
Why Should We Care?
Meadows are biodiversity hotspots and support life on many levels. Forming nearly 45% of the UK’s flora, these rich ecosystems are home to insects from butterflies to beetles. They provide food for small animals and birds, and play a crucial role in the survival of bees. On top of that, their strong root systems can help mitigate flooding and rich warm soils store more carbon than regular grass.
Ditching the mower saves councils time, money and emissions. Dublin City Council announced last week they’re now ‘wilding’ grasslands in parks, open spaces, and roadside verges - so what are we waiting for?
A grassroots wilding movement has been making tracks and people have lots of ideas for how to improve biodiversity in our public spaces. Here are a few actions that you can take during lockdown:
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