VISITORS to Cross Hands Industrial Estate are being greeted with displays of flower rich grasslands.

The grass verges have been revealing their colourful displays of flowers and providing valuable habitat for pollinators as part of Carmarthenshire Council’s Biodiversity Plan.

The council, along with Natural Resources Wales and local businesses, have been working on this pilot scheme to protect the rich natural heritage of the county whilst maintaining the highway in a safe condition for motorists and pedestrians.

Within Carmarthenshire there are more than 6000 kilometres of road verges.

Roadside verges provide a rich and varied wildlife habitat offering shelter, a supply of food and corridors along which wildlife can travel.

Under the plan, highways and grass verge cutting is now limited to a single one metre swathe, with the exception being visibility splays along roads, at junctions, bends and steep/vertical hedge-banks to ensure there is no obstruction to visibility lines for motorists and maintaining pedestrian safety. Verge mowing is also limited to one cut per year. Depending on weather and growing conditions a second cut may be necessary to meet safety standards.

The council’s executive board member for environment, Cllr Hazel Evans said: “The council has a statutory duty to maintain the highway in a safe condition for all road users, but it is also important to recognise the importance of the road verges for nature conservation. We hope that this experiment at Cross Hands Industrial Estate will become standard practice and that we can extend it to other sites in the future. Allowing plants to flower and set seed, and giving the public the chance to enjoy them, we are helping in a small way to counter the decline in pollinators.”

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