Nature emergency: win for Sheffield wildflower campaign as Amey lets verges grow

A Sheffield councillor has successfully lobbied Amey to trial growing wildflowers on pockets of land with the view to this being rolled out across the city.

Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 2:46 pm

Councillor Barbara Masters, representative for Ecclesall ward, has been working with officers in highways, insurance and Amey to give communities control over small green spaces in a bid to boost biodiversity.

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Ordinarily, the areas are routinely mowed as part of Amey’s highway maintenance but now Amey is taking a more relaxed approach to verges, allowing communities to grow wildflowers on them instead.

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Councillor Barbara Masters planting wildflowers in Sheffield with the community.

A trial run has begun on Highcliffe Drive, High Storrs.

Coun Masters, who has worked to make this policy for the past two years, said: “Thanks to the combined effort we believe a way forward has been found.

“Amey can take on the insurance if it takes responsibility for preparing the ground. In autumn Amey will strip the grass off plots agreed suitable by the local community and sow yellow rattle, a plant that suppresses grass growth.

“This will give any wildflowers that seed the site a good chance of becoming established. If residents wish to help nature by scattering wildflower seeds suited to the site that’s great.

Councillor Barbara Masters planting wildflowers with the community.

“After that Amey will mow the area completely every autumn as well as ensure a narrow border around the sites will be maintained so that roads and paths are kept clear as part of their normal summer mowing schedule.

“So Amey is helping us do a trial run on Highcliffe Drive this year. They’ve given our plot a really close shave and we’ve exposed patches of soil which we’ve sown with wildflower seeds. We’ll find out in a few weeks how effective this has been.

“If it’s successful and the policy is adopted, residents can ask their local area committees to consider funding similar schemes. Not only does it boost biodiversity, it’s also a great way of getting to know more of our neighbours.”

The plot of land where a wildflower trial is taking place.
Councillor Barbara Masters planting wildflowers with the community.
The plot of land where a wildflower trial is taking place.