Environment / SIC urged to allow wildflowers to grow on roadside verges

Wild flowers are one of the main sources of food for insects, birds and bees.

A PETITION calling on Shetland Islands Council as well as Delting Community Council to stop cutting roadside verges until at least September is gaining momentum with around 200 signatures by Friday morning.

Father and daughter team of Phil and Georgia Smith launched the Stop the cutting of wildflowers online petition three days ago.

Georgia said the world was in a climate crisis and was losing biodiversity all the time.

“We should be planting more trees and not cutting down the wildflower verges around Brae and other areas of Shetland.

“The wild flowers are one of the main sources of food for insects, birds and our decreasing bees.”

Phil said he was not against cutting the verges for safety reasons at junctions or on one side of some single track roads, but added that all the other areas with wild flowers should only be cut twice, in May and then in September again.


“Lots of people have been commenting on our beautiful all the wild flowers are this year, so there is really no need to cut them down in the middle of summer,” he said.

“Shetland is in a biodiversity crisis, it is often overlooked, but we are losing diversity all the time.

“Here in Brae we have plenty of footpaths, and there is a lot of unnecessary grass cutting going on, including bigger areas such as next to the bus shelter where the council has just cut a 200m by 10m wide strip.

“It also happened along the verge on the main road between the Brae Co-op and the building centre. There is a footpath and the one metre wide verge between the footpath and the fence is being cut all the time. It’s quite a big area and completely pointless to cut.”

Responding to the petition, the council’s director of infrastructure services, John Smith, said he was happy to receive any petition about issues that the community wants to be brought to the council’s attention.

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“We have recently completed this year’s ‘cut’, according to our current policy.  In 2012 that policy was amended to discontinue the annual ‘wide cutting’ of all roadside verges, and instead focus on certain areas for safety reasons.

These are: verges at junctions where growth obstructs visibility; verges on single track roads where growth restricts the width of the road; where growth obstructs traffic signs; and on sections of roads where the verge is used by a significant number of pedestrians on a daily basis.”

The petition can be found here.

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