Managing road verges for wildlife

wildflower in grass verge - muscari armeniacum

Increasing biodiversity is a goal of the Mayor's Transport Strategy. We want to help existing wildflowers in our grass verges to grow and produce new flowers - this will supply nectar and other food resources, plus shelter for wildlife including bees, butterflies, birds and small mammals.

Over time the variety of plant life will increase, helping to support even more wildlife species.

A trial we began in 2019 was successful - the number of wildflowers increased in the trial areas.

What we're doing

In trial areas we've changed the number of times we cut the grass along two red routes to twice a year, in April and September. This was to allow wildflowers to grow.

We also removed grass cuttings from the full width of the verge. Removing the grass clippings helps the wildflowers by gradually reducing soil nutrient levels, giving them a chance to outcompete the grasses that normally dominate when soil nutrient levels are higher.

At the same time we cut the first metre of verge back from the carriageway more regularly to keep long grass from encroaching on roads or pavements.

Where this is happening

Our first trial was held on:

  • A406 Redbridge roundabout to the M11 in Redbridge
  • A40 from Target roundabout westwards to the London boundary in Hillingdon

We're now planning to extend the trial at the existing locations on the A406 and at Redbridge - we're also working to identify more locations for wildflower meadows across London.

With 165 hectares of grassed verge on our road network, we could potentially increase biodiversity levels across London.

Find out more about the importance of roadside verges for wildlife on the Plantlife website.

Contact us

Write

You can ask a question about our grass cutting programme on the street issues form.