Wildflowers on Island verges need protection, says Isle of Wight MP

The Isle of Wight MP said, “It’s really important that we protect our beautiful wildflowers on the Island. Not only do they enhance the beauty of our Island, but they also provide a vital habitat for wildlife.”

wildflower verge

Continuing his campaign for the protection of wildflowers on Island verges, MP Bob Seely met with a number of stakeholders at a workshop last month (22nd August) to discuss how road verges can be sustainably managed.

Representatives from IW AONB, IW Association of Local Councils, Island Roads, IW Council and Plantlife – a British conservation charity working to save threatened wild flowers – came together to discuss ways to manage road verges to encourage biodiversity and enhance their role as wildlife corridors whilst ensuring the safety of road users.

Seely: Really important we protect our beautiful wildflowers
Bob, who wrote to the IW Council in June last year asking it to cut roadside grass verges more sensitively, said:

“Thank you to the organisers of this event. Verges act as mini-meadows providing vital wildlife corridors between towns and villages. In the past, verges have been cut in a way that kills wildflowers during flowering season and replaces them with thick grass that needs more cutting.

“It’s really important that we protect our beautiful wildflowers on the Island. Not only do they enhance the beauty of our Island, but they also provide a vital habitat for wildlife.”

Bob said that tens of thousands of pounds had already been saved by cutting verges less.

“I am keen to see a partnership approach being taken to the management of our verges.”

Changes being suggested
Bob said changes he would like to see included:

  • More ‘no-cut’ areas to be identified by Island Roads, working with the Isle of Wight Council and parish councils. Clearly this is dependent on safety.
  • With the money saved, the Council agree to support Island Roads in the purchasing of specialist equipment to ensure best practise in verge cutting, which will result in easier and more environmentally sensitive cutting by collecting the cuttings and promoting wildflower growth.

“Less frequent cutting will improve the beauty of Island verges for residents and visitors, encourage pollinators and improve biodiversity.”

Bob also said that an education plan was needed to win support for the new policy and to explain why wildflower verges are beautiful.

Grogan: Keen to see the Island’s wildlife thrive
AONB Lead Officer, Richard Grogan, said:

“The Isle of Wight AONB as manager of the Local Records Centre and the lead partner in the Isle of Wight Biosphere are keen to see the Island’s wildlife thrive in a landscape dominated by human influences.

“The management of our road verges as wildlife corridors highlights a very visible way local parishes, the local authority and concerned organisations and individuals can work together to maintain our grassland verges for wildflowers, pollinators and small mammals as well as provide safe and colourful roadsides for residents and tourists to enjoy.”

PFI contractor
As part of its contract with the IW Council, Island Roads is responsible for cutting and maintaining around 1,350,000 square metres of highway verges across the Island.

Bob is calling for a meeting between Island Roads and the IW Council to work together, in consultation with others, to agree a sustainable management plan for grass verges. 


News shared with OnTheWight from the office of Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Robert Seely. Ed

Image: samsaunders under CC BY 2.0

Monday, 9th September, 2019 1:20pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2naH

Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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5 Comments on "Wildflowers on Island verges need protection, says Isle of Wight MP"

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Rowan
All well and good – but it would be a lot easier to achieve this if council staff hadn’t been cut because of the Conservative gvernment’s policy after 1979 of forcing councils to put their work out to tender, and forced them to accept the lowest bid. Labour didn’t really reverse that policy, just changed it to best value for money, and they like the Consevatives cut… Read more »
Rowan

Just occurred to me that the photo was probably supplied by The Office of Bob Seeley…

peterj

It looks like a verge, it’s clearly next to a road. People have been know to seed verges with seed mixes, just so it looks a nicer than just grass.

Also the credit for the photo is listed at the bottom of the article. If you click through you’ll see that the photo is titled ‘Wildflower Verges On Easton Way’.

Sally Perry
I’m sorry if my photo choice made you feel sad. It was not supplied by Bob Seely’s office (as you suggested it might be), I chose the image based on a search for a copyright free image of “Wildflower Verge”. As PeterJ states, it is titled “Wildflower Verges On Easton Way”, if you view the largest size possible you’ll see some wildflowers in there. Thanks for emailing… Read more »
Colin
Is there anything Mr. Seely hasn’t got a view on? Many of the Island verges are on narrow rural roads which when overgrown cause visibility and access problems as the bracken, nettles and brambles encroach onto the road. Island roads have dug out ditches that have been overgrown for years and what happens? The IWC reduce the verge cutting so these ditches get choked and overgrown very… Read more »