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Richmond Council is trialling a new approach to managing its highway grass verges, by significantly reducing how often they are cut to enhance the borough’s biodiversity and reduce its carbon footprint.

The current maintenance regime means all highway grass verges are cut approximately every two to three weeks during the growing season.

The new cutting regime will split the borough’s grass verges into three categories: urban highways, rural highways and conservation highways. These categories will determine how often the verges will be maintained. Urban highways will be maintained monthly during the growing season, rural highways will be cut around three times per year and conservation highways will be cut once a year at the end of the growing season. You can check which highways fall into which category by using this map.

By leaving grass verges to grow, biodiversity will increase, habitats will improve for native flora and fauna, the borough’s air quality will improve and the Council’s carbon footprint will reduce.

For more details on the benefits of the new maintenance regime, go to: Management of highway grass verges - London Borough of Richmond upon Thames

Ishbel Murray, Assistant Director for Environment and Community Services, Richmond Council, said:

“There is approximately 171,364 square metres of highway grass verge in the borough. By letting our verges grow, we are working towards our cleaner and greener borough.

“The Council’s Parks Team has worked closely with our grounds maintenance contractor to assign appropriate maintenance regimes for each highway grass verge. Decision making has been based on the size and location of grass verges, safety and visibility considerations, nearby facilities, and previous feedback from residents.

“The new maintenance regime will be monitored, and feedback will be collated and used to make any revisions going forward.”

– from a Richmond Council press release - 20 April 2021