The Blue Campaign - increasing biodiversity in grass verges

Increasing biodiversity in grass verges

The network of grass verges in Surrey stretches alongside 3,000 miles of rural and urban roads, providing a significant opportunity to increase plant and insect biodiversity through the way that these are managed.

By reducing the number of grass cuts each year allows native plant species to thrive, and in some areas additional steps can be taken to prepare the ground, sow native wildflower seeds and more proactively encourage their growth.

Local residents and communities can play a key role in this effort by:

  • Raising awareness locally of the benefits of reduced cuts.
  • Planting blue hearts in grass verges, following the steps detailed below.
  • Raking and removing grass cuttings after the annual cut, where safe to do so.
  • Removing any litter that collects in the longer grass, again where safe to do so.
  • Rewilding areas of their own gardens and other green spaces.

The Blue Campaign

The Blue Campaign was founded in 2014 by wildlife filmmaker Fergus Beeley in response to the State of Nature report published that year which showed a dramatic decline in Biodiversity in the UK.

The Blue Campaign works under a simple message; step back and let nature take a bit more control in your green spaces. You do not need 100s of acres of land to make a difference, simply creating variation through reduced/staggered mowing, allowance of wildflower and weed growth, stopping pesticide use, and establishing wild habitats helps create a space for wildlife to flourish.

The Blue Campaign encourages councils and the public to re-wild their green spaces. You can get involved by helping to identify land such as verges and roundabouts which are suitable to be left uncut. These areas can feature a blue heart, indicating why the grass and flowers are growing longer there.

Residents are encouraged to:

  • Identify suitable grass verges near where they live.
  • Gain local resident support to rewild this area (especially people whose properties are directly in front of the proposed verge).
  • Contact us for an assessment to ensure this verge is suitable for being left uncut
    • Select 'Planting a blue heart on the verge' as the form option
    • Pinpoint the specific verge or green area on the map
    • Use the text box within the form to add any specific comments and let us know if you have gained local community support
  • Make or purchase a blue heart to plant in the verge.

Plant a blue heart on the verge

We will review the proposed location based on factors such as verge width, footway width, sightlines and on-street parking.

Where a road is used by cyclists or where there is no footway so the verge is being used by pedestrians, a 1m width strip would need to be cut alongside the carriageway.

If approved:

  • Staff will record the Blue Heart location and notify the grass-cutting contractor who manage this verge to bypass this area on their route.
  • If a partial cut is needed for safety or access reasons, they will cut the sightlines, or may reduce the cut to only a 1m strip along the road or pavement.
  • All verges, including Blue Heart locations, will have one full-width cut each Autumn.

For more local information and support for residents on rewilding and wild flowering, please contact Surrey's Wild flowering Project.

For more rewilding initiatives see the Rewilding map of Britain or Plant life's transforming the UK's road verges map.

Bookham Blue Heart Wildflower Verges 2023

Files available to download

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