Bushes are thriving as they are being left uncut due to social isolating, allowing bees to pollinate.
As everyone knows, bee populations have been declining over the last 2 decades. However, due to the coronavirus, numbers could see a rise during the lockdown because many councils are leaving roadside verges uncut – providing an ideal home for bees to do their vital work.
According to Jonathan Watts, an explosion of colour is likely to occur in the British country side and probably in most parts of the world. This will also bring huge benefits to other various pollinators such as butterflies, birds and bats.
Roadside verges are one of the very few remaining homes to plant species that have been devastated by the conversion of natural meadows into farmland. These strips of life dotted around the nation consist of 700 species of wildflowers. Accounting to 45% of the UK’s total flora.
Their potential role as conservation areas is usually undermined each spring by councils as they get mowed down annually looking for that clean cut affect.
Unfortunately, this process prevents plants from flowering and seeding, leading to a sturdy decline of oxeye daisy, yellow rattle, wild carrot, meadow crane’s bill, greater knapweed, white champion, burnet-saxifrage, betony, harebell and field scabious.
Again, due to the current restrictions allowing us to leave our premises, this could be the best summer for plants in many years prior and to come. As a result of the pandemic, several councils are redistributing resources to other activities.
Somerset, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Newcastle and Flintshire are among the growing number of councils that are scaling back or delaying their verge mowing operations.
Other local authorities – such as Devon – have realised that this should be done later and less frequently anyway. The pandemic has just highlighted this problem.
“If the lockdown ends in late May, drivers will see great swaths of oxeye daisies and ladies bedstraw.” Said Plantlife’s botanical specialist – Trevor Dines – who iterated that this could be Covid – 19’s silver lining.
The benefits of leaving plant life to grow and thrive, especially in the summer and during the pandemic, poses many more benefits than risks.
Trevor continued to highlight that “Our message to councils is that if you haven’t cut verges until now, then leave them until August and gauge the response from the public.”
The pandemic poses some remarkable short-term circumstances. It looks to be that it holds a massive opportunity to shift opinion and policies with the thought of long-term benefits for threatened species like wood-calamit.
Katy Petty, the group’s road verge campaign manager said, “The fix is startlingly straightforward. Simply cutting verges less and later will save plants, money and reduce emissions. We need to rewild ourselves and accept nature’s wonderful ‘messiness’.”
Trevor Dines happens to be a beekeeper aswell, he said that delayed and less frequent verge-mowing would help other various species that depend on wildflowers.
Dines continued to elaborate on the benefits of this for pollinators, “The fix is startlingly straightforward. Simply cutting verges less and later will save plants, money and reduce emissions. We need to rewild ourselves and accept nature’s wonderful ‘messiness’.”
Another benefit, for those who have experienced this, it is rather an unpleasant feeling but we will see much lower levels of roadkill. A staggering number of roughly 100,000 hedgehogs, 100,000 foxes, 50,000 badgers and 30,000 deer as well as barn owls and other species of bird an insect are killed annually in the UK by vehicles.
Credit: Jonathan Watts – The Guardian