Several UK towns that are letting their roadside “lawns” grow wild into flower meadows for pollinators
The drive keeps getting prettier in several British towns that have stopped mowing along highways and roads and let wildflowers take over.
Not only is the move benefiting bees and drivers, it’s saving tax payers money on mowing costs.
The longest stretch of wildflowers so far is 8 miles in the town of Rotherdam, in South Yorkshire.
The town planted a mix of native and high-nectar non-native wildflowers to feed pollinators.
The 8-mile stretch of meadow, twists and turns like a “river of flowers” between traffic lanes.
Since it was installed in 2013, it has saved the town of Rotherdam £25,000 ($33,000) a year in mowing costs.
Other roadside meadows have popped up in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Birmingham, Newcastle and Sheffield thanks to encouragement from an organization called Plantlife.
The UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows in less than a century. Roadside mowing has been a surprisingly significant contribution to this problem.
Historically, town councils have taken an overzealous approach to keeping roadside verges short for safety, access, and litter-clean-up reasons, along with a desire for “neatness,” Plantlife says.
“From a scientific viewpoint, we now know much more about the importance of roadside vegetation for biodiversity and other critical services to humanity such as regulating pollution, maintaining soil structure and health, reducing flood risk… than even five years ago,” Franziska Schrodt, an ecosystems expert at the University of Nottingham, told the BBC.