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On the Verge of Something Big

UK wildlife charities have teamed up with England’s government advisor on natural environment to persuade local councils and landowners to help save our pollinators.

At the first event of its kind, local authorities and other organisations will be asked to change the way they manage road verges, roundabouts and other valuable grassland habitats to benefit wildlife.

More wildflowers and less mowing will feature in the topics discussed at the Symposium on Friday 13th September at the Earth Trust in Oxfordshire.

Photo credit: Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust

 

The event has been organised by The Wildlife Trusts, Butterfly Conservation and Natural England and the 80 places have already sold out, with a waiting list, highlighting the popularity of the topic.

At least 21 local authorities from across England and Wales are attending, as well as organisations like South East Water, Highways England, Transport for London, University researchers and landowners like the National Trust.

Dr Phil Sterling from Butterfly Conservation said: “Butterflies, bees and moths can all benefit from simple changes to the way our road verges and roundabouts are managed, but we have proof that local authorities and landowners can also save themselves money by adopting these new approaches, so it’s a win-win for all involved.

“A number of councils are already planting more wildflowers, which is fantastic and the public have been very supportive of this. In Dorset I worked with the County Council to plant wildflowers next to a major new road development near Weymouth. Previously only a couple of butterflies were recorded there, but ten years on, we can now find at least 30 different butterfly species beside this busy main road.”

Dr Nicola Rivers from Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust said: “This is the perfect opportunity to bring different sectors together to learn from each other and discuss how we can manage road verges to support biodiversity. The Wildlife Trusts will be amongst those showcasing examples of how working together has led to an increase of wildflowers in urban locations.”

Speakers on the day include representatives from various local authorities, Highways England, Natural England and conservation organisations.

Dr Richard Jefferson, a grassland specialist from Natural England, said: “Natural England are really pleased to be supporting this symposium as road verges are often the last vestiges of wildflower-rich grasslands in many areas and are a very important habitat for biodiversity conservation. They are a fundamental resource for maintaining and re-building biodiversity in urban and rural areas.

“In particular, they will form part of a Nature Recovery Network, a major commitment in the Government’s 25 year environment plan that will improve, expand and connect wildlife-rich habitats.”

Details on the event can be found here.