THE annual verge cutting in south Herefordshire is surely an outdated practice.

The world is experiencing its greatest mass extinction event and the UK government has pledged its desire to reverse the loss of biodiversity.

Despite this Herefordshire Council feels that cutting back hundreds of miles of rural verges full of wildflowers vital for pollinating insects is a good idea.

Road safety is mooted as the reason.


Surely, if drivers on small rural roads are driving fast enough that the fractional loss of vision due to a clump of cow parsley is impairing them, then they are going too fast anyway.

The latest bout of verge cutting carried out by a contractor on the Picts Cross to Winters Cross Road at Sellack has also cut into the hedge, and in this case destroyed the vegetation where a pair of common whitethroats, a long-distance migrant from Africa, were nesting and exposed a chaffinch nest to predation.

Cutting a hedge before August 31 requires a prior survey for nesting birds by a qualified ecologist.

Simply by delaying verge cutting until late July the impact to nesting birds and pollinating insects would be dramatically reduced.

Daniel Webb