A new report launched by Buglife has looked in detail at the role road verges play for pollinators across the UK.
It concludes that road verges are important habitats for pollinators, providing food and shelter and connecting many habitats – although they can also present the threat of collisions and pollutants.
Across the UK there are almost 400,000 kilometres of roads (397,025 km) – roughly the distance from Earth to the moon – and 238,000 hectares of road verges. It is how these verges are managed that is the main factor affecting the value of road verges for pollinators and other wildlife.
Road verges can provide important habitats for pollinators in our landscape, and due to their linear nature, can play a role in connecting habitats – acting as wildlife corridors and helping to form networks for nature.
Road verges tend to be managed at two extremes: they're either cut too often, taking all the flowers away during the peak flowering times, or not cut enough, resulting in grasses and scrub taking over and swamping the wildflowers. We need to direct management towards cutting before or after the key flowering and pollinator activity periods (March-September).
Catherine Jones, Buglife's Pollinator officer commented. “This report outlines simple steps, that can be implemented in stages according to the resources available, to enhance floral species richness and the variety of habitats that provide sources of food and shelter for a diverse range of pollinators.”
Find the report here: