The Council’s Environment Service is responsible for the management of a massive 75 hectares of ‘urban verges’ across Cornwall. These are the verges you see within 30mph zones. Traditionally these sites would be mown around eight times a year, starting in spring.
Covid 19 has meant that grounds maintenance on urban verges were held back. This has resulted in a large rise in native wildflowers and meadow plants. These are drawing in pollinators, insects and other wildlife. Cornwall Council want to maintain these benefits, in keeping with our aim to create a greener county. So, we have drawn up new plans for verges:
- The number of times we cut the grass has been reduced to between two and three cuts per year depending on location, where it is safe to do so.
- Cutting will be done after the flowers have finished and seeds are set. Typically between June and September.
- In two pilot towns (Liskeard and Redruth) the clippings from the summer grass cut will be collected by special mower. This will reduce fertility and allow meadow plants to establish. It will also help to encourage greater biodiversity in the long term.
The Council will still be:
- ensuring clear lines of visibility on roads, particularly at junctions
- tidying path and pavement edges
- cutting around benches and fixtures
- removing noxious weeds
- controlling invasive weeds such as dock and thistle to prevent their spread
On the highway, cutting at junctions and bends already takes place only for safety and visibility reasons.
How you can help
We are also keen to work with volunteer groups to help rake up and compost clippings by hand. Several volunteer verge groups have had success managing their verges this way. Please contact us by email: email@example.com if you wish to get involved in the maintenance of your area.
We do not recommend that residents plant bulbs or wildflowers in the verges near your home. This may affect our maintenance routine.
The Council already has a range of policies which promote biodiversity and healthier habitats on the sites it is responsible for. In turn, these improve the lives of people. These policies look at how Cornwall Council:
- manages its whole estate
- maximising biodiversity
- encouraging wildflowers and pollinating insects
It’s an example that has earned an enthusiastic thumbs up from many partner organisations.