How verges are supporting our ecosystems

You may have seen lots of wildflowers springing up across the borough’s verges, parks and open spaces over the summer. Most of these are due to Wildlife Ways – the council’s £16.8 million borough wide  project – part-financed by ERDF – to give wildlife a much needed boost and encourage people to walk and cycle across the borough.

One of the key people in the project team is ecologist Adam Noon (pictured). Last month he presented the project at a national conference, which was meeting to discuss verges and how they can be used to support biodiversity.

Adam said: “Buoyed by the success of the Habitats and Nature Improvement Project we were encouraged to apply for more funding for more habitat enhancements. We knew that we needed to make our network of ecological sites bigger, better and more joined up so we developed Wildlife Ways.

“This project includes enhancing woodlands, grasslands, wetlands and the borough’s verge network. We’re using our cycle networks as a framework to create connectivity between our nature reserves, enhancing 19 hectares of verges with 800 semi-mature trees, one km of hedgerow and 3.5 million bulbs.

“We’re also planting thousands of square metres of wildflowers using lots of different species. Not only does this look amazing – and hopefully encourages people to ditch their cars to walk and cycle – but the variety of species prolongs the flowering season. This is great for pollinators which are vital to creating and maintaining the habitats and ecosystems that many animals including ourselves rely on for food and shelter.”