Rural road grass cutting trial continues, allowing more wildflowers to grow

roadside verge, wild flowers

In March this year following the success of a previous trial, Braintree District Council and Essex County Council decided to extend the trial for another 12 months.

In March this year following the success of a previous trial, Braintree District Council and Essex County Council, as the Highways Authority, took the decision to extend the environmentally friendly approach of a once a year autumn cut, to more areas across the district, for another 12 months.

Now being three months further in, Let in Bloom June is showing signs of more and more grasses and wildflowers popping up along the verges offering nectar to help to feed our pollinators. Leaving the verges uncut in the spring, helps to protect the natural habitat, bringing a contribution to improve sustainability, biodiversity conservation and resilience to climate change, all without compromising the highway safety of road users.

Cllr Wendy Schmitt, Cabinet Member for Environment said: “It really does bring a smile to my face when I travel past these verges and see them developing and growing into all their glory.  Being passionate about our environment, preserving habitats like these for their value for biodiversity and conservation, is something we can do at a local level to help tackle climate change.  I hope these lovely sights bring smiles to all who pass by too.”

Cllr Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport: “We’re pleased to be part of this effort to increase areas in Essex where wildlife can flourish. We all know that our environment is under pressure in many ways, and we should take opportunities to reverse the process. We’re happy to collaborate on trials like this to allow us to assess the benefits to the environment, but also to keep in mind the safety needs of all road-users.”

Towards the end of the year the outcomes of the trial will be evaluated and a consultation will be held to see if a single cut will become the permanent and more sustainable environmental approach to the maintenance programme of road verges.

In the meantime, although the rewilding approach enhances the appearance of local areas as well as creating a more sustainable environment, it is still paramount that consideration is given to road/public safety, especially the visibility at junctions. If there are areas that the public believe the grass may need to be cut, they can contact Braintree District Council’s Customer Service Centre either by email: or by calling 01376 552525.  

Published: 29th June 2021