Nature-friendly road verges

How we can all help manage our community's roadside verges and support the environment.

1 Community road verges

Community road verges are a new classification for verges identified, and often looked after, by local communities interested in caring for pollinators.

West Sussex County Council can instruct our grass cutting contractors to mow only once or twice a year, as directed by local people, who then collect and dispose of the arisings (grass cuttings). This ensures that the soil isn’t too fertile, enabling native wildflowers to thrive. The grass will be cut at times of the year that allow wildflowers to bloom for a longer period and set seed.

These verges might not look as neat and tidy as you’re used to, but they look very attractive to pollinating insects and wildlife.

To suggest verges in your area as Community road verges, email active.communities@westsussex.gov.uk.

If you think there is a problem with a roadside verge, you can tell us by reporting a grass safety issue.

Community road verge images

2 Notable road verges

Notable road verges (NRVs) are the best known verges for wildlife in the county. They’re home to a number of scarce insect and plant species and some provide spectacular wildflower displays.

Throughout West Sussex, there are 84 NRVs - that’s 51km of verge - covering an area of 293 football pitches.

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) have been monitoring these verges for nearly 50 years. Each verge has a distinctive oak marker post installed so that they receive appropriate management. We work closely with our contractors to ensure that the verges are cut at the most desirable time to allow the plants to flower and set seed.

Many of our roadside verges are all that remain of old meadows or other habitats that have now disappeared, so saving what is left is a priority for WSCC and our county’s wildlife.

To find out about NRVs in your area, email active.communities@westsussex.gov.uk.

Notable road verge image

3 Pollinator highways

Pollinator highways link together natural habitats.

Roadside verges along pollinator highways will look more abundant than the average urban road verge, but they’re increasing our climate resilience through strengthening the variety of plant and animal life of local neighbourhoods.

To encourage native wildflowers to thrive, roadside verges along the pollinator highway will only be mown once or twice per year. These verges are a vital refuge for bees, butterflies, birds, and bugs.

There will be opportunities for you to get involved by measuring biodiversity, suggesting areas that might benefit from being a little wilder or letting any green space you may have go ‘wild’ and become a small part of pollinator highways. This could be anything from planting native wildflowers in your garden or window box to making a bug or bee hotel.

Our first pollinator highway is in Lancing. Find out more by visiting Lancing Parish Council’s website.

Last updated:
14 July 2021
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