County council accused of failing to protect rare wildlife
Conservationists are concerned that Cambridgeshire County Council is endangering rare wildlife by its failure to cut roadside verges properly.
Sixty seven roadside verges across the county have protected status and they need cutting in the autumn to preserve the balance of wildlife at a cost of £13,000 a year.
But Cambridgeshire County Council is refusing to cut more than a one metre band of the verges. It claims if more needs to be done parish councils must take on the work and pay for it.
Conservationists claim that, unless the verges are cut correctly, the loss of grassland species recorded over the past 10 years will not only continue but accelerate.
Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust Conservation Manager, Martin Baker, points out that road verges represent a significant proportion of the county's grassland habitats which are rich in various species. They support a range of nationally scarce wild plants including some restricted in theUKto a small area of Cambridgeshire, Essex andSuffolksuch as Moon Carrot, Sulphur Clover and Crested Cow-wheat.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Tim Stone, who represents Duxford, has taken up the case calling on the council to fulfil its responsibilities.
He said: "Wildlife native to English hay meadows live in these protected habitats. Failure to cut the verges to their full width in the autumn would have really serious consequences for them. The county council has completely failed to carry out its responsibilities - and all for £13,000."
Cllr Tim Stone is pictured examining a protected verge with Martin Baker, Conservation Manager of the Wildlife Trust.