LETTER: Local authority has ‘raped’ roadside verges

Almost every week in the media you hear about the loss of habitat endangering our bees, pollinating insects and butterflies.

With this in mind, as I was on my way in late June to present a lunchtime talk to gardeners at the Gibbon Bridge Hotel, I was astounded to see the way in which the highway authorities had “raped” the verges either side of the Hodder Bridge to Chipping Road.

The cutters had not only taken almost every roadside verge plant down to ground level, but the cut had been so low and so far back into the hedge bottom the soil had been churned up by the blades, destroying many of the crowns of plants. This also assists erosion and, of course, makes a welcome seedbed for the invasive and troublesome Himalayan Balsam, which is destroying vast areas of roadside verge and riverbank in the county.

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The previous month I had been presented with a Green Tourism Business Award for my business, which covers presentations to groups on horticultural and environmental matters. Many other businesses in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have received similar awards for their work in assisting the environment, but additionally the AONB awarded me a Europarc Certificate highlighting my encouragement to others to be environmentally aware.

Then why, when so many people and organisations in this area are cherishing and valuing our surroundings, have the authorities taken it upon themselves to destroy all of the wild flowers and grasses along this attractive stretch of road? Having recently travelled in Cumbria and North Yorkshire I noticed roadside wild flowers are left to flourish and even this week I noticed the brilliant display of Meadowsweet and Meadow Cranesbill alongside the road from Dunsop Bridge via Newton to Waddington. Even the Highways Agency has severely cut back on the intensive strimming of verges on our motorways, thus saving fuel and labour charges plus helping the environment.

At the other end of the scale, on the road outside our home in Waddington we have been forced to literally go out and trim the 6ft high nettles and horizontal brambles that were forcing pedestrians to take to the road on a blind bend on this busy road approaching the village from Clitheroe.

The pavement is only 2ft wide at this point, and along its whole length to Brungerley Bridge it is often obstructed by overhanging growth making it difficult for pedestrians on what is a popular walking route to and from Clitheroe instead of using the car or bus.

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Why not direct resources where they are effectively required instead of wasting time and money destroying an attractive habitat?


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Waddow Lodge Garden,