Release date: 6 September 2021
Wildflowers and pollinators are making a comeback in Lancing, where West Sussex County Council’s first ‘Pollinator Highway’ is underway.
The joint project between the County Council, Lancing Parish Council and Adur & Worthing Councils is helping to provide crucial food sources and habitat links for a variety of insects via the roadside verges.
Just as we use highways to move from place to place, pollinators in West Sussex will soon be able to do the same. By increasing the biodiversity of plants and wildflowers alongside the A2025's verges, from the sea to The Downs, bees, moths, butterflies, and other pollinators can thrive.
Joy Dennis, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “Lancing Pollinator Highway is a great example of councils working together for the benefit of the environment. It goes to show we can all play our part in helping pollinators in our neighbourhoods, and the more we help individually, the greater the benefit.”
Parish Councillor Joe Pannell added: “Bees are responsible for pollinating crops and flowers globally. The world would be a much different place without the work bees do. We feel, as a local council, leaving the flowers on the verges around Lancing contributes to the protection of local wildlife. However, we will cut back any areas that could cause a safety risk to pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.”
Pollinator Highways will be managed differently to the County Council’s other road verges by:
- Reducing grass cutting to once per year
- Collecting grass cuttings to reduce soil fertility and enable wildflowers to compete against dominant grasses
- Monitoring and tracking biodiversity changes
- Not using herbicides to control weed growth. Local residents can help by pulling up and disposing of troublesome weeds on the pavement (although, do not remove noxious weeds, or weeds in the gutter or on the road itself- report these problems online via Love West Sussex)
Signage will be installed at intervals along the route and locals will receive a leaflet communicating the plans for the project with the opportunity to feedback.
Insects don’t fly in straight lines, so we hope a network of mini pollinator havens will be established in the long run, including neighbouring roads, private gardens, and green spaces along the route.
Deborah Urquhart, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said, “Pollinator Highways offer a fantastic opportunity to deliver on our Pollinator Action Plan objectives by increasing both the area and the connectivity of natural habitats, as well as enabling community awareness, appreciation and action on local pollinators' needs.”
This is the first of many potential County Council Pollinator Highways, so keep an eye out for future projects.
West Sussex Highways also has a pilot project called Community Road Verges (CRVs), which aims to increase climate resilience through strengthening the biodiversity of local neighbourhoods. CRVs are identified and often looked after by local communities. These verges receive only one mow per year and the grass cuttings are collected to reduce soil fertility, benefiting wildflower growth.
This complements the Pollinator highways project and helps to enact the WSCC Pollinator Action Plan.