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Are councils ‘vandalising’ UK’s wildflower verges?

Councils that mow road verges before wild flowers have appeared have been accused of horticultural vandalism. 

Wild plant charity Plantlife says it has received complaints from members of the public who were “horrified and upset” to see verges cut before flowers bloomed.

Plantlife accused local authorities of mowing too early and smothering wild flowers with grass cuttings.

It found that 75 per cent of councils cut their verges multiple times over spring and summer.

The charity’s chief executive, Victoria Chester, said: “Our verges are under attack. Flowers are being mown in full bloom, or sprayed with poisons as ‘weeds,’ and smothered with cuttings. Over time, only nettles and coarse grasses can survive this onslaught.”

It is claimed that primroses and violets have been destroyed in spring while campion, stitchwort, bluebells, orchids and lady’s bedstraw have succumbed to blades, too.

Victoria summed up: “These flowers, with us since the last ice age, are on the edge.”

Plantlife has launched a campaign called Flowers on the Edge, which is urging councils to cut less frequently, and cut later.

Conservationists say that with the loss of natural meadows across the UK, wildflowers on road verges play a vital role as a food source for pollinators.

In addition, the nation’s road verges are a source of food for insects, birds and small mammals.

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