Come and be part of a global voice for wild plants and fungi
This autumn, help us find the Britain’s most colourful and important fungi – waxcaps.
Make a positive impact in protecting remarkable lichens.
Go the extra mile and run wild for Plantlife
Become a Plantlife member today and together we will rebuild a world rich in plants and fungi
Learn how Dorset Council were able to invest for nature while cutting its mowing bill by 45% in seven years.
Dorset Council is working to meet climate and biodiversity targets by adopting a new approach to road verge management that will provide the greatest opportunity for wildflowers to thrive whilst reducing management costs and building a business case for investment in cut-and-collect equipment.
Dorset Council implemented a cut-and–collect approach to urban mowing across the county. Removing the grass cuttings reduces soil fertility, preventing dominant grasses and herbs from suppressing wildflower growth.
As vegetation growth diminished each year with reducing fertility, it was possible to drastically reduce the frequency of cutting from seven to two times per year, leading to a 45% saving in mowing costs within seven years.
This enabled the investment in new cut and collect mowing machinery to be paid back within a viable timeframe.
For grasslands to be biodiverse, they must be managed. In the natural context, grassland plants evolved in habitats grazed by wild animals, and more recently, they have depended upon livestock and hay cutting. Now, in our modern urban spaces, grassland areas require our well-timed management to provide the best biodiversity they can support.
In its operations, Dorset Council has recognised the importance of taking an annual management approach to support the ecological value of its most biodiverse road verges.
By safely reducing mowing frequency at sites on the urban road verge network and adopting a single late summer cut-and-collect on designated ‘Conservation Verges’ the council is able to create and maintain wildflower-rich habitats.
Dorset Council is able to dispose of most of the collected verge grass cuttings by sending around 400 tonnes to a local waste processing site for composting. Verge cuttings account for less than 1% of the site’s annual green vegetation waste intake.
On wider, safer verges, sacrificial sites are used to temporarily deposit the grass cuttings away from the road edge during the busy operational periods in spring and summer. In late summer or early autumn, the diminished piles are collectively removed, improving work efficiency.
For guidance on the management of grass cuttings, visit How to Manage Grass Cuttings.
By collecting the grass, roadside litter is collected together with the cuttings. The litter can then be picked at a waste transfer station away from the roadside at no risk to operators. This can often save money where traffic control measures are no longer needed.
In managing a space for nature, letting the wildflowers and grass grow, there can be community concerns over litter being left, in adopting this approach these concerns can be addressed.
We will keep you updated by email about our work, news, campaigning, appeals and ways to get involved. We will never share your details and you can opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Notice.