COLOURFUL wild flowers could be a more familiar sight as green fingered campaigners work to see verges left to grow wild.

Reducing mowing to once a year could save the council money and boost bee and pollinator numbers, they say.

Academics are backing the theory and have called on local authorities to consider embracing the more natural look along highways.

Bridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for highways, said:“Wildflowers certainly add to the beautiful Wiltshire landscape in the summer and we know many people like to see them while they’re out and about enjoying the sunshine.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

“We do have a duty to ensure verges are safe for road users, especially at junctions, and we only cut one metre back wherever possible, in order to retain as much of the natural growth as we can. We have also been reducing the frequency of verge cutting where we can.

“We will also be running trials next year which will include wildflower provision. We will be looking for people’s feedback as some may view a conservation area as being unsightly and unmanaged, so we need to get that balance right.

“We cut verges as late in the season as possible to promote diversity, and any identified as having special or rare species could be classed as a ‘protected road verge’."

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

In and around Pewsey the Bee Roadzz campaign has been up and running for 18 months, planting flowers and encouraging farmers and landowners to leave sections of land to grow wild.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Milly Carmichael Owen has been involved with the project since it launched and said: “People are getting more interested. We have an agreement with the gardening club with some land at Minal village hall and some pyramid orchids have sprung up. It has had mixed reactions, some think it is beautiful and colourful and some thing that the verges need cutting. We don’t suggest that people forage by the side of busy roads so similarly we would have to apply that to animals too, however some quieter roads or hedges are perfect for pollinators. ”

The Pewsey Community Area Partnership has also called on Wiltshire Council to allow more verges to be left to grow wild after villagers felt some spring flowers had been cut down unnecessarily.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

Jemma Batton Marlborough Downs Space for Nature project director warned that although wild, flowers still require care and attention to grow.

Paul Jupp runs a Meadow In My Garden a company that helps people grow their own wild flower areas. He is also part of Clean Up Devizes Squad, which has been litter picking and planting flower meadows on roundabouts and on verges in and around Devizes.

He said: “It brings the community together by doing something like this that is beautiful and address our climate emergency.”