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.

  • Vee

    In our area Joe Public is complaining vociferously that the place looks “untidy” and it is a disgrace, They are used to verges being cut several times a year and now council has been obliged for cash reasons to reduce the number of cuts they are furious. How can we get through to these people? They keep saying it is dangerous, because drivers cannot see. If visibility is a little restricted in a few places a good driver goes more slowly – but not them. As far as possible council IS clearing edges for safety on things like roundabouts etc. But these morons want everything looking like a bowling green – or, in dry weather a dusty desert.
    One problems is that when verges ARE cut later, after they have been left a long time, too much hay then lies on the area, providing the wrong environment and too much fertility. It also gets into the gutters and washes into the drains. Can the campaign add that we want councils to rake this off, please?
    One other thing to consider is those who get hay fever, of course. Leaving the grass makes things far worse for them.