Highways to become WildWays as Kingston Council boosts local biodiversity

Two pilot WildWays sites have been introduced on roadside grass verges in Chessington to create wildflower meadows, as part of Kingston Council’s commitment to creating a cleaner, greener borough.

To help boost local biodiversity, a different method of verge management will be used at Gilders Road Roundabout and the smaller Hunters Road Triangle, along with seven other areas across the borough.

During the first year the grass will be allowed to grow longer, it will then be cut and removed. This will help lower the nutrient level of the soil, resulting in a reduction of grass growth and allowing more space for wildflowers to emerge. As a result, meadow-like areas will form and perennial wildflowers will begin to flourish providing forage for pollinators, including butterflies and bumblebees.

Sarah Ireland, Executive Director of Corporate & Communities, Kingston Council, said: “We want to create environments in which both people and wildlife can thrive alongside one another.

“In 2019, almost 400 residents had their say on how they would like to see our green spaces managed in the future, with overwhelming support for ‘natural not cultivated’ wildlife-friendly adjustments.

“WildWays is one of many new practices we have begun to roll out across the borough in support of this new vision. Other initiatives include: introducing biobeds (raised beds planted with robust species to support urban pollinators), supporting the establishment of new community orchards and piloting traditional grassland grazing.

“Our new WildWays meadows will take some time to establish so residents are encouraged to visit Let’s Talk to find out what the process involves and what the final results will look like.

“Whilst you’re there we would love to hear your thoughts on the scheme and if this is something you would like to see implemented borough-wide.”