Clearing undergrowth and protecting wildlife

A resident, @bob_shepherd, asked us on Twitter about why we have cut back undergrowth in a lay by in Five Lanes.

Lots of officers from various departments are involved with this kind of thing: they work together to find a balance, keeping Monmouthshire neat and pretty while we protect our beautiful wildlife too.

We have a number of designated ‘Wildlife Verge Reserves’ in the county.
These are managed in a slightly different way to the usual verge cuts, in order to retain their wildlife importance.

Their management generally involves a single, later cut (than the usual verge management of two cuts per year).

These Wildlife Verge Reserves still need to have an annual cut, otherwise they would become overgrown by bramble (and eventually scrub and trees) which would suppress the native wild flowers for which they have been designated.

In the past, the cut has sometimes been undertaken only on the kerbside one metre in or so, even if it was quite a wide verge. The result has been that the rear of the verge becomes covered in bramble, and the wildflowers are suppressed. Because of this we have started to ensure that the full width of each Wildlife Verge Reserve is periodically cut (every two or three years or so).

At Five Lanes there is a Roadside Verge Reserve (one of the first to be designated back in 1992/93) but some of the areas adjacent to the junction have been mown by local residents and have lost wildflower interest.

There is a need to retain sight lines at this junction, but verge cutting by our Highways team will achieve this and still retain some wildlife interest in the verge.

There may, however, sometimes be a wildlife interest that is not readily apparent, and we will assess each verge when new work is proposed.

Bob, I hope this answers your question.

Posted by Helen in Communications

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