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Boost for bees, butterflies and wildlife during ‘No Mow May’ throughout Cambridgeshire

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Local wildlife will thrive along Cambridgeshire’s roads this spring as grass cutting will be paused to support animals and plant life.

Cambridgeshire County Council will stop cutting grass on its road verges during May this year to support local biodiversity, with a particular focus on pollinators such as bees.

‘No Mow May’ is run by Plantlife – an organisation that promotes the maintenance and growth of wildflowers, plants and fungi. According to Plantlife, more than 700 species of wildflowers grow on road verges in the UK - this is almost 45% of the total wildflower species found across the country.

A roadside verge. Picture: Wildlife Trust (56346054)
A roadside verge. Picture: Wildlife Trust (56346054)

As the council is committed to improving the environment and tackling climate change, it declared both a climate and environment emergency in 2019. It has also set the target for Cambridgeshire to reach net zero emissions by 2045 and an organisational target for the county council to reach net zero by 2030.

Cutting the grass less often will help reduce carbon emissions, as well as providing habitats for pollinators, such as bees, to thrive. The council is also encouraging all local parish councils that cut verges on its behalf to take part in No Mow May.

Road safety is a priority for Cambridgeshire County Council, so in agreement with Plantlife we will still cut grass where leaving it could cause danger such as at junctions or bends.

A roadside verge. Picture: Wildlife Trust (56346050)
A roadside verge. Picture: Wildlife Trust (56346050)

Vice-chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee, Cllr Gerri Bird, said: “It’s really important we make changes wherever we can to support our local biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions and this is just one step we are taking to help us reach net zero emissions. Of course, road safety is a priority for us to, so road users can be assured that any necessary maintenance will be carried out and signage will remain clearly visible.”

The county council previously attended a workshop and worked closely with Plantlife to develop its current grass cutting protocol around the highways and verge management policy to support biodiversity. These changes to the way roadside verges are maintained help support wildflowers, bees and plant species to thrive.

It includes protecting wildlife corridors, which are areas of land that connect species with habitats that would otherwise be separated by human activities. For more information on its current verge maintenance policy, which came into place last year, visit the council’s website here.

For more information on Plantlife, visit: https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk or https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/no-mow-may

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