On 16 Sep 2020 I tweeted as follows asking Southwark Council to let me adopt a small verge which is routinely over-mowed.

“Hey @lb_southwark your contractors mow this little verge near me so short that it’s permanently brown. I’d like to adopt it please. I’d follow
@Love_plants’s best practice guidance on managing road verges to encourage biodiversity which will help meet your targets. How about it?”

I received a number of messages of support but no response from Southwark.

Today I found out that my ward councillor, Cllr Catherine Rose, is pleasingly also now the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Environment and Roads. I emailed as follows to ask for her support in my adoption application.

“Dear Councillor Rose

As my ward councillor and Cabinet Member for Leisure, Environment and Roads, I am emailing to ask for your support.

On the edge of College ward where Crescent Wood Road meets Sydenham Hill, there is a small, roughly triangular patch of verge (see attached photo). Council contractors mow this so short that it is permanently brown and at this length it will be of little value in providing either food or a refuge for over-wintering invertebrates. The road layout means there is no justification for cutting this verge short for road safety.

I would like to adopt this patch of verge so that I could manage it in line with Plantlife’s best practice guidelines to support plant and invertebrate biodiversity. I would be happy for this to be in line with management principles negotiated with council officers and for the arrangement to be for a period of time subject to review.

The benefit to the Council would be my free input, a reduction (if small) in the work needed from the contractor and a contribution to the Council’s biodiversity targets. It would also demonstrate the progressive approach Southwark Council takes to working in partnership with communities.

I am a plant ecologist by training and I am well-networked with experts in conservation. As a nature writer I would like to write about the changes which this management approach achieves.

Best wishes

Dr Amanda Tuke
Writer and blogger: nature, people and places”

What will be her response I wonder?