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Making the cut for Norfolk's roads

Roadside nature reserve

Published by Chris Craddock at 11:16am 15th May 2019.

Making the cut for Norfolk's roads.

The county council's annual verge cutting is underway.

Some people have complained about the damage caused to the local environment.

But the local authority says it has to find the balance between maintain nature and driver safety.

Cllr Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Infrastructure & Transport, said:

"We only cut verges for safety reasons, not appearance. Safety will always be a top priority on our roads and making sure verges are cut for visibility every year is a vital piece of the work we do to keep our roads safe.

"I'm very proud of the work we've been doing over more than 20 years to support the now 112 roadside nature reserves we have across the county. A real success story has been the Sulphur Clover Project, where we have worked with Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Group (FWAG) to increase the number of sites this rare plant grows. For over 10 years sulphur clover seed has been harvested from roadside nature reserves, and with the help of landowners the seed has been given new homes on the clay soils of South Norfolk where the plant can grow well."

Helen Baczkowska, Norfolk Wildlife Trust Conservation Officer, said:

"As wildflower rich grasslands have become rarer in the wider countryside, roadside verges today have increased importance as refuges for plants which have declined elsewhere.

"The grassland and hedgerows along our road networks also play a vital role as corridors for wildlife to move along and help connect our increasingly isolated 'islands' of good habitat where wildlife still thrives. Without any cutting many of the rarer plant species would not survive and so with sensitive management and careful planning the needs of both road safety and looking after wildlife can both be met.

"We are fortunate in Norfolk still to have many road verges rich not just in flowers but also in bees, butterflies and other pollinators bringing wider benefits to adjacent farmland."

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