Email received from Cornwall Highways 22nd June 2023
We have received a few reports recently regarding visibility and safety concerns with the verges in Millbrook and as most are designated as wilding verges I asked our Environment Working Foreman to visit and assess whether further cutting is required and will update you once the inspection has taken place.
I have attached our verge factsheets for rural and urban areas in the meantime for your information and below is the information on wilding verges.
Cornwall Council has introduced a new policy which aims to encourage wildflowers and pollinators to thrive, without compromising road safety. The Council is responsible for maintaining over 75 hectares of urban verges and green areas in our towns and villages.
In keeping with the Cornwall Council’s aim to create a greener Cornwall we have implemented changes to how we manage verges. The Council, as part of their bee pollinator action plan wants to allow wildflowers to seed and therefore verges and closed churchyard areas will be left to flourish, with more sympathetic maintenance taking place before cut back later in the summer.
Last year Cornwall Council carried out a public consultation asking residents how they wanted the verges to be managed. The results of the survey, which received more than 2,000 responses, overwhelmingly suggested that residents wanted to see nature encouraged to flourish. As a result, Wildflowers are being left to flourish in towns and villages under Cornwall Council’s new urban verge-cutting policy. Verges will now be cut two or three times a year, instead of eight, and cuttings will take place after the flowers have finished blooming and seeds are set.
Our maintenance teams will still be visiting monthly to tidy path edges, cut around benches and fixtures, ensuring visibility for safety reasons, as well as removing invasive and more prolific weeds. We are evaluating which areas may be used regularly for recreation purposes, such as to ensure children can still play in their neighbourhood. If there are grass areas within the local estates that are used for informal play and recreation, please do get in touch and a Manager will visit to make a compromise between rewilding and use by the community. Cutting at junctions and bends on the highway will also continue to ensure roads remain safe and visibility is not compromised.
In terms of the maintenance activity at Wadebridge and St Austell, these are maintained by the local Town Council.
You can find out more about how we maintain verges in urban areas, typically those within 30mph zones on the Council’s Website Making Space for Nature – Cornwall Council and Wildlife Verges – Cornwall Council
Changes have also been made to encourage more wildlife to verges in rural areas. On our main roads a ‘Safety Cut’ is carried out in the spring to early summer (May -July) to reduce growth obstructing visibility at junctions and signs or verges with high pedestrian usage.
In early spring and again in the autumn, we will carry out a Serviceability Cut on our main roads. This means cutting more of the highway corridor and will usually include a one metre ‘swathe’ cut to help reduce verge encroachment. Again, these cuts will be minimised, where appropriate, to reduce the impact on the natural environment and for safety reasons only. On the minor rural road network, cuts will be restricted to reactive safety cuts only following inspections or as part of local rural maintenance activities.
Please be mindful that the speed of growth is always influenced by the weather conditions and this may result in longer grass between cuts or changes to our schedule.
To find out when we will be in your local area to cut the grass or carry out other maintenance activities in our parks and open spaces, please click on the links below.
Schedules are being published on a weekly basis by Community Network Area. About Community Networks – Cornwall Council schedule Environment – CORMAC (cormacltd.co.uk). If your area is not listed, this means that we do not have works planned in your area for that working-week. Please remember to check the pages regularly for up to date information.