Grass verges left to overgrow for village wildlife project

Grass verges along Hospital Road in Doddington left to overgrow

Grass verges along Hospital Road in Doddington have been left to overgrow as part of a wildlife project. - Credit: Daniel Mason/Unsplash

Grass verges have been left to overgrow alongside a village road in a bid to restore wildlife in the area. 

The grass verges along Hospital Road in Doddington are usually tended to by John Cutteridge, who said will now only cut them “a couple of times in the season”. 

Mr Cutteridge wants to leave the grassland for most of the year to increase the insect population, which has dropped across the country. 

“The idea came when I saw what people were doing nationally about the issue,” he said. 

“We are cutting it and leaving it to grow wild. We will cut it when those flowers finish flowering instead of cutting around five to six times a year.” 

The grass verges are usually cut by Mr Cutteridge to help maintain the area, which he said is the responsibility of Fenland District Council. 

Bug experts have stated that the world is losing around one to two per cent of insects a year due to issues such as climate change and changes in agriculture. 

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“In about 60 years’ time, there may not be any insects, so instead of cutting it so often, leaving it so then get a chance to breed in the long grass,” Mr Cutteridge said. 

“We’ve left them and will only cut them later in the season when the grass starts to go off as all the roadside verges will attract insects.” 

However, this is not the only project that the businessman is doing to increase biodiversity. 

Butterflies could be arriving on Hospital Road, Doddington as part of the project

Grass verges have been left to overgrow along Hospital Road, Doddington in a bid to increase the number of insects in the area. - Credit: Unsplash

Mr Cutteridge has planted 10,000 trees on Hospital Road since around 2003 as he looks to reduce the amount of carbon footprint used. 

Figures from the Royal Entomological Society show that there could be around 10 million species of insect on planet Earth. 

Insects are also important for ecosystems that humans depend on, providing food for other animals and pollinating plants. 

“There must be millions of insects living here and it must make a phenomenal difference,” Mr Cutteridge added. 

“Landowners have more opportunity to keep verges along the roads respectable and to leave those verges will have a big impact to help insects. 

“We are just trying to do our little bit to help.” 

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said the grass verges along Hospital Road are part of its verge maintenance programme, which aims to improve the county’s wildlife habitats and species. 

Changes to how roadside verges are maintained were approved in March, and a council spokesperson said the programme will “protect wildflowers and improve wildlife corridors. 

“Cambridgeshire County Council declared both a climate and environment emergency in 2019 and the joint administration will be reviewing the council’s climate strategy and working to more challenging targets for a zero carbon council by 2030."

To learn more about the programme, visit: https://bit.ly/3eFvM2D or go to: https://bit.ly/3zntgpI.  

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