Wiltshire Council has a statutory duty to consider biodiversity conservation in all its activities. Only 2% of wildflower meadows which existed nationally in 1930’s now remain! Roadside verge management can increase the wildflower areas. The main way to do this is to reduce the number of cuts to once a year between mid July and the end of September with the removal of the cuttings in areas where grass does not need to be kept short for sightline management for road safety.
Locally there have been reports of some verges being cut so low that topsoil has been removed. Currently Wilshire Council contract out the cutting of verges and there is forward planning as to what should happen in 2022. It is hoped that careful consideration will be given to biodiversity conservation. The reasoning behind one cut a year during the times mentioned is that it gives the wildflowers time to flower and form seed followed by seed dispersal. This one cut regime is one example, that for some soils and habitats and wildflowers there maybe other regimes such as 2 cuts but in all cases the timing is key to ensure the plants flower, be pollinated and seed.