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Councils urged to protect wildlife by the roadside

Council and other organisations will be asked to change the way they manage road verges, and roundabouts to benefit wildlife at a special event, later this week.

The Road Verge Symposium will be held on 13 September at the Earth Trust in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, on 13 September.

The event has been organised by The Wildlife Trusts, Butterfly Conservation and Natural England and the 80 places have already sold out, with a waiting list, highlighting the popularity of the topic.

At least 21 local authorities from across England and Wales are attending, as well as organisations like South East Water, Highways England, Transport for London, University researchers and landowners like the National Trust.

Speakers on the day include representatives from various local authorities, Highways England, Natural England and conservation organisations.

‘Butterflies, bees and moths can all benefit from simple changes to the way our road verges and roundabouts are managed, but we have proof that local authorities and landowners can also save themselves money by adopting these new approaches, so it’s a win-win for all involved,’ said Dr Phil Sterling from Butterfly Conservation

‘A number of councils are already planting more wildflowers, which is fantastic and the public have been very supportive of this.

‘In Dorset I worked with the county council to plant wildflowers next to a major new road development near Weymouth. Previously only a couple of butterflies were recorded there, but ten years on, we can now find at least 30 different butterfly species beside this busy main road.’

Dr Nicola Rivers from Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust added: ‘This is the perfect opportunity to bring different sectors together to learn from each other and discuss how we can manage road verges to support biodiversity. The Wildlife Trusts will be amongst those showcasing examples of how working together has led to an increase of wildflowers in urban locations.’

Pictured is the five-spot Burnet moth on Orchid beside A354 Blandford bypass.

Photo Credit – Giles Nicholson (Butterfly Conservation)

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