Roadside verges should be cut less to protect wildflowers and pollinators, new research has found.
The study, by the University of Exeter, found verges provide a ‘vital refuge’ for pollinators such as bees and butterflies but they must be managed better.
It found that cutting verges in summer makes them ‘useless’ for pollinators as it removes wildflowers.
Lead author Ben Phillips, of the Environment and Sustainability Institute on Exeter’s Penryn Campus, said: ‘Most verges are cut in summer – the peak of flowering – but where possible they should be left until autumn, when pollinators are less active.
‘Our results show that the part of the verge within two metres of the road contains the fewest pollinators.
‘This is often the most important part to cut for road safety and visibility, so where possible only this part should be cut in summer.’