LOCHABER residents are being asked to keep a lookout for blooming good flowery road side verges.
It is all part of a Highland Council drive to make sure verge cutting schedules along the routes it is responsible for are designed sensitively to maximise the variety of flowers growing there.
The local authority hopes to emulate what has happened on some sections of trunk road in the region, including on the A830 at Blar Mhor between Fort William and Corpach, after Scotland Transerv altered their cutting programmes.
There, “fantastic” colourful displays of wildflowers have been on show this summer. There has also been a trial on some of the council maintained roads in Caithness.
Highland Council’s chairman of TEC services committee, Councillor Graham Phillips, said: “Safety is of course of paramount importance on roads, so cutting regimes will only be altered when it is safe to do so.
“All the verges along sightlines and at junctions will remain cut short, however there are lots of other areas that could have their cutting regime altered to benefit the wildflowers there, which will in turn benefit the insects that feed on them.
“We are not asking for a detailed report, just a quick and easy survey of the variety of colours you see as you pass by in a car or walking.”
The proposed changes in management are having a single cut with either an early, or a late summer cut and also varying the height of the flail so that low growing species aren’t cut but the taller, more competitive species are.
The changes in management are likely to be “cost neutral”, but will benefit the biodiversity of the verges particularly the plants and their pollinators such as bees, butterflies and moths.
Anyone wishing to take part should send the information about the best road verges in their area to the council’s biodiversity officer, Jonathan Willet.
He said: “Most verges have white and yellow flowers on them, but there are also red, blue, violet and pink that are commonly seen.
“If you know of verges that are good for orchids or Cuckoo Flower or other flowers that are out earlier in the year then you can let us know about them as well.”
Mr Willet can be contacted by telephoning 01463 702274 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org