Skip to main content

On the road to wildflower-rich verges and greenspaces

Our drive to empower and support local authorities to change the way they manage road verges took a significant step forward during the year when the project expanded its remit.

Our ongoing campaign to create a wildflower-rich network for nature by changing the way road verges are managed expanded during 2022/23 to include parks, cemeteries, sports fields, public gardens and all the grassy greenspaces in between.   

Led by Plantlife, the initiative encourages local authorities to cut less and cut later, in turn creating diverse wildlife havens where plants and animals can thrive.  

It aims to bring about a systematic change in the management of thousands of miles of road verges and greenspaces. As well as cutting emissions and improving carbon storage, this will also save public money by reducing maintenance costs.


A year on the verge  

During the year, we directly supported 5 new local authorities to adopt best practice. They have transformed their management strategies for road verges and greenspaces as a result, which is already benefitting the environment.

Pyramidal orchid on the verge in Dorset.

The campaign continued to gather such momentum that we recruited a new intern to our team in November to help us respond to a growing number of enquiries. 

We also spread our “managed messiness” message more widely by attending 13 high profile conferences and seminars. These events paved the way for us to build relationships with industry leaders and spark broader conversations around finding sustainable ways to transform our greenspaces.

Hosted by organisations such as Highways UK and the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transport, they also gave us a chance to promote opportunities for collaboration between researchers and practitioners.

Wide show of a blue lorry on a road with tall Oxeye Daisies on the road verge

Capitalising on cuttings

In addition to raising awareness, we are also working with partners to find innovative new ways to manage green waste using advances in biotechnology. This could see processes such as anaerobic digestion used to transform grass cuttings into heat, power, biofuel, fertiliser, peat replacement and bio-based construction materials so that it can be reused with minimal environmental impact.  

Developing such bio-based circular economies gives us an exciting opportunity to help fund nature’s recovery while also reducing carbon emissions. These innovations also open the door for local authorities to begin seeing wildflower-rich greenspaces as an asset capable of paying for their own management. 

More ‘Work in Partnerships’ Projects

Nature recovery from the bottom up
Yellow rattle in a meadow

Nature recovery from the bottom up

We’re using the introduction of Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) to advocate for wild plants and fungi and their protection.

The impact of our work on nitrogen and peat
Landscape image of water rippling against the peatland on a cold overcast day

The impact of our work on nitrogen and peat

We’re working in partnership to tackle the threats which nitrogen pollution and peat sales pose to wild plants and fungi.

Saving Wales’ threatened species
Two people with looking at a plant with the mountain in the back drop

Saving Wales’ threatened species

Our exciting plans for Natur am Byth, Wales’ flagship green recovery project, were fully developed during 2022/23, paving the way for the initiative to begin in earnest in summer 2023.