Letter: A change in verge cutting policy is needed on the Isle of Wight

This reader from Whitwell says that aside from the impact on wildlife, there’s evidence that over-cutting changes the characteristics of a road and can encourages drivers to increase speed. He’s calling for changes in Isle of Wight council policy.

Verges - Don Brame

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This by Don Brame from Whitwell. Ed

Over the last few years I have been trying to persuade Isle of Wight Council and Island Roads to adopt a more sensitive strategy towards cutting of roadside verges and hedgerows as the current policy fails to recognise the value of leaving flowers and grasses to grow and instead all are cut down irrespective of location.

Earlier this week I drove home and instead of wonderful wild flowers, cow parsley and grasses there was a strip of bare cut mess which has not only destroyed the beauty of the area, but also home for numerous wild animals and insects etc.

I saw a similar article a couple of years ago, it seems the policies are unchanged.

I was given some assurances last year by Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Cllr Dave Stewart, and others that they all agreed this was wrong and a waste of money and would be reviewing policies.

Not surprisingly nothing has changed.

Examples of ‘destructive’ verge cutting
Below are some images of Godshill Road from Whitwell towards Godshill which show the impact of the verge cutting carried out earlier in the week. Not only has is destroyed the wild flowers, grasses, ferns etc., but damaged bollards in the process.

I have ignored areas where there is a road junction or clear need to improve visibility for road users, but the verges have been cut on both side for the whole length of the road, rather than just essential areas.

Verges by Don Brame

Verges by Don Brame

Verges by Don Brame

Verges by Don Brame

Whilst this is my immediate area am sure there are similar examples across the Island.

Change in policy needed
I have made representations to Isle of Wight Council and Island Roads and am awaiting their response in the hope that someone reviews the policy and realises that only cutting essential junction areas and leaving the rest to grow naturally might actually result in not just a more pleasant natural landscape, wildlife habitats, but also less pollution as the verges trap particles.

In addition there is evidence that over-cutting changes the characteristics of a road and can encourages drivers to increase speed, not to mention to unnecessary cost to the Council.

Friday, 8th June, 2018 6:41pm


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Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Letter to the Editor

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4 Comments on "Letter: A change in verge cutting policy is needed on the Isle of Wight"

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Yes it is hard to believe we an area that relies on tourism with so many projects and actions destroying the very things that attract visitors. We must think of the consequences, apart from the environmental issues we need to maintain our uniqueness and look after the countryside, the funny trains, the ferries, the easy going people, things that matter and visitors remember.


I cannot imagine anything more inviting than overgrown, untidy verges.
Rather than giving a good impression I think it will only put off the visitors.
I agree that they should only cut a small distance into the verge but I think they should cut more often not less.

I guess egros means “uninviting”. However, there is a big difference between trimming to maintain visibility and road width and the wholesale destructive slash-and-burn that IWC and their servants Island Roads indulge in. Roadside grass can be “topped”, that is, left at a length adequate for survival of flora and fauna but still allowing road visibilty. It may be that this needs a road-mounted machine, requiring traffic… Read more »
You are correct, I was being polite for the sake of it. I do agree there must be something better than the current slash and burn policy. I just get annoyed by the few who seem to think that the verges need not be cut at all. All that does is narrow the road and causes vehicles to travel further from the curb just because they cannot… Read more »