I saw in the paper from my hometown of Loughborough, a story about how the council has announced it will be cutting grass more often after residents began to complain. The article was followed by a number of pictures of road verges and roundabouts with uncut grass (the horror), that had been left for a matter of weeks. The council blamed cost cutting as the reason for the verges being left over grown. Whilst some residents saw the grass as an eyesore, myself and I am sure many others, saw it as one of our most undervalued habitats for urban wildlife. The potential for roadside verges and public land to be used for wildlife is there, but yet so little of it is managed in a way that is wildlife friendly.
With more and more urban areas springing up, wildlife needs all the habitat it can get, a small unkempt piece of grass may look untidy to some, but for wildlife it is an oasis in a concreted barren landscape. In fact in Britain alone there is around 600,000 acres of roadside verges, just waiting to be managed in a more wildlife friendly way.
The reality is two thirds of UK wildlife has had population declines in the past century, with some of our much loved urban wildlife facing extinction. By making small changes, and adopting a more wildlife friendly attitude, we can reverse some of this decline. Recent studies have proven that small areas of habitat are often as important as larger areas. If we managed our roadside verges and patches of public land with wildlife in mind, suddenly areas of small habitat link together and form larger areas of suitable habitat for many species; reducing the fragmentation of our countryside.
A patch of native meadow, used by bees, butterflies, birds and small mammals, including the ever declining hedgehog, is surely a much better sight than a run of the mill, pristine (frankly mundane) piece of grass. Lets start inviting wildlife back into our towns and let it reclaim just a fraction of what it used to have.
I have written to my local council and simply told them to ignore those who call for the grass to be short and boring, and to instead let native plants grow and hold off on the cuttings, giving wildlife a chance to thrive in the town; so cut costs instead of cutting grass. So I say, for the sake of our urban wildlife, LET IT GROW.