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Letters: Verge cutting is destroying flower-rich habitats

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SIR - It was interesting to read last week of Mr Hounsome’s battle with Hampshire County Council regarding their mismanagement of flower-rich roadside verges.

Apparently on Hantsweb they make a point of working with Hampshire Willdlife Trust to identify and manage rare species on verges in the county. Clearly this one fell through their mesh. Congratulations to Mr Hounsome for challenging HCC on this issue.

There is a much wider issue here regarding our roadside verges. There has been much media attention recently given over to the declining populations of invertebrates (particularly pollinators) and the knock-on effect this is having up the food-chain (and this includes us).

All our roadside verges (both rural and urban) provide a huge resource of nectar and pollen bearing plants upon which insects and other invertebrates depend. They are the food plants for many butterfly and moth larvae for example.

Here in Barton-on-Sea the roadside verges are cut repeatedly during the flowering season leaving very little in the way of nectar or pollen. They are also parked on, used to store building materials and even sprayed with herbicide to kill off the vegetation.

Some verges contain small populations of orchids (Autumn Ladies-tresses) which are very rarely given the chance to flower.

The frequency of cutting should be reduced in spring and summer to give invertebrates a helping hand, and not cut in August or September to allow the orchids to flower.

Bob Lord, Barton-on-Sea

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