Wildflowers in Britain have been given a helping hand after new guidelines were approved to limit how often roadside grass edges are cut.
Wild flowers thrive along the road and roadside are among the last remaining shelters for the beautiful plants that have been eradicated from large parts of the UK.
They are currently harvested four times a year, which means they do not have enough time to mature and release their seeds.
The new rules limit this to just two decorations every 12 months, allowing wild flowers to complete their life cycle and to increase their chances of flowering again.
Wild flowers thrive along the road and are one of the last remaining places of refuge for the beautiful plants that have been eradicated from large parts of the UK. They are currently harvested four times a year, which means they do not have enough time to mature and release their seeds (stock)
WHAT IS REWILDING?
Rewilding is intended to bring the country back to a more natural state – by letting nature take its course.
Activists and plans call for rewilding to be encouraged to save essential areas and species.
One site, called Rewilding Europe, calls nature a & # 39; helping hand & # 39; to give.
Their site reads: & # 39; We can help by creating the right conditions – by removing dikes and dams to clear rivers, by stopping the active management of wildlife populations, by allowing natural forest regeneration and by reintroducing species that have disappeared as a result of human actions.
& # 39; Then we have to take a step back and let nature manage itself. & # 39;
Plans include the introduction of long-lost or valuable keystone species in a region and the preservation of the natural order.
The grassy places along the 313,500 miles of rural rural roads, A roads and highways are an increasingly important source of meadow habitats, said the Wildlife Charity Plantlife.
Grass strips along roads have become vital after the decimation of 97 percent of all British wildflowers in the last century.
The majority of the land is re-earmarked for growing crops, making the margins of the road the last place where wild flowers take root.
More than 700 species of wild flowers, including 29 of the 52 species of wild orchids found in this country, can be found on verges.
By cutting them only twice a year, flowers can be pollinated and put seeds instead of being cut into flowering.
The move will also be a blessing to many rare insects that depend on the flowers for food, will save municipal savings and a & # 39; flash of nature & # 39; offer to motorists and pedestrians, according to nature lover Plantlife.
Dr. Trevor Dines, the director of Plantlife, said it could offer a much greater chance to people for rare flowers such as wood calamint and fen ragwort that can now only be found on verges.
It can also mean that people see more familiar flowers, including cow lips, daisies and even orchids on their travels – including the rare lizard orchid.
& # 39; It is encouraging to see that verges are increasingly being recognized as nature paradises, rather than the trivial & # 39; edgelands & # 39; that flash by in the mirror of the car while we continue our busy life, & # 39; he said.
The charity produced the support in collaboration with Natural England, Highways England, Transport Scotland and the Welsh Government, branch organizations Skanska and Kier and Butterfly Conservation and The Wildlife Trusts.
Grassy verges cover an area equal to all the remaining lowland grassland that is still rich in wildflowers, so a new approach could double the opportunities for wildflowers and wildlife, Dr. Dines added.
& # 39; Wide acceptance of this best practice management by municipalities and their contractors could transform our road network, which means an end to difficult times on the soft estate, & # 39; he said.
Dr. Dines said that over time wildflowers were affected by the loss of meadows on one side of the hedge in the fields of farmers.
& # 39; At the same time, we have slowly eradicated wild flowers on the other side of the hedge, but cut them so early and more often every year. We have wiped out flowers on both sides of the hedge. & # 39;
The new rules limit grass verges to just two decorations every 12 months, allowing them to complete their life cycle and increase their chances of flowering again (stock)
But where people used to want to see neat and tidy verges, there was now a greater appetite for wild flowers and & # 39; messier & # 39; strips of grass that better cover plants and the animals that feed on them, he said.
This shift in public attitudes is reflected in Plantlife's petition calling for the management of verges for wild flowers, signed by 82,000 people.
And it is supported by research from the AA Charitable Trust, which found that 84 percent of the 18,000 motorists surveyed would like to see more roadside meadows graze along the road, as long as this does not obstruct the view of the road.
Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust, said that verges can be a haven for native plants and wildlife, and added: “Driving can sometimes be boring leading to a lack of concentration, so if a touch of color and a touch of scent warns the senses, it must also be a good thing for road safety. & # 39;
According to the guidelines, the verges must be mown twice a year, and this later in the fall helps to suppress coarse grasses and stimulates wild flowers that can grow, produce beautiful displays and put seeds before they are cut.
They also encourage the removal of cuttings to remove excess nutrients that would stimulate grass at the expense of flowers, indicating the potential for using biomass material to produce energy.
And there is advice on the restoration of verges, the management of scrub and the installation of flowery grasslands along new roads.
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