A partnership between Island Roads, Isle of Wight Association of Local Councils and the Isle of Wight AONB Partnership is highlighting a new approach to the management of road verges on the Island called ‘Nature’s Highways’.
Following on from workshops in summer 2019 and the publication of the IWAONB Nature’s Highways Strategy 2020, the parishes of Shorwell and Chillerton and Gatcombe have been working with Island Roads on a pilot verge management scheme that encourages the biodiversity found in these linear nature reserves to thrive.
Not only does this allow wildflowers to bloom but also providing corridors for pollinating insects, birds, and small mammals.
These wildlife corridors help bring nature to people, strengthening connections with the environment and improving quality of life including mental health.
‘Nature’s Highways: Roadside Verges on the Isle of Wight
The partnership has produced a leaflet ‘Nature’s Highways: Roadside Verges on the Isle of Wight’ which has been distributed across the pilot area to residents to let them how and why the verges are being managed and is available as a download from the IWAONB Website.
It is hoped that the Isle of Wight will join many other local authority areas across the UK who are looking at the sustainable, wildlife friendly management of roadside verges and other greenspaces.
Belben: Benefits demonstrated
Gillian Belben of Chillerton and Gatcombe Parish Council said,
“Our verge surveys in the spring and summer of 2020 have demonstrated how beneficial the management scheme has been in increasing the flowering plants and insect life in our parish lanes.
“We look forward to continuing this strategy in future years.”
Grogan: Adoption of the pilot schemes is very welcome
Richard Grogan, Lead Officer for the Isle of Wight AONB said,
“Following the successful AONB-led designation of the Isle of Wight as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the adoption of the pilot schemes is very welcome.
“We would like to thank Island Roads and the Parish Councils in the AONB who have helped make these pilot schemes a success and we are keen to support similar schemes elsewhere on the Island.”
Wallis: Always willing to discuss new approaches
Dave Wallis, Island Roads’ operations and maintenance manager said,
“As we have shown with the recent changes to the way we carry out weed removal, we are always willing to discuss new approaches to the safe management of the highway network, particularly so when it delivers environmental benefits.
“We are really pleased to be part of this project. Verge management is an issue of great local interest and we are always open to suggestions as to how we can continue to meet our contractual obligations in a way that is kind to our natural environment.”
Seely: I am grateful to all those involved
Bob Seely MP said,
“I am pleased to see a new approach to the management of verges being piloted on the Island. It’s important we protect our wildlife habitats and retain as much natural beauty as possible where safe to do so.
“I am grateful to all those involved in the Nature’s Highway project and I hope to see this approach extended across the Island.”
News shared by Joel on behalf of Isle of Wight AONB. Ed