East Lothian Council

Road verge maintenance / Grass Cutting

East Lothian Council maintains public grassed areas including parks, traffic roundabouts, village and town entrances and most roadside verges. All of these areas are maintained to take account of the diverse needs of local communities and the environment.

Road verges provide a useful resource for wild flowers and grasses which support bees, butterflies, beetles and other wildlife. It is misleading to think that wildflowers benefit from leaving verges uncut all year round. Grassland flowers are adapted to cope with grazing or cutting. Without regular management, grasslands become dominated by a few competitive species and wildflowers die out. Eventually these verges would turn into scrub or woodland.

Ideally, grasslands are cut in the autumn and all the grass cuttings are raked off.  This is best achieved in larger areas such as fields. This type of management would be difficult and costly across a road network.

Verges are cut two or three times per year, in order to define the road edge, but only the first metre of verge is cut. Some local landowners also prefer to mow verges in their area, which adds to the number of times a verge is cut.

Our management of roadside verges is not necessarily the best for wildflowers, but a compromise is required between the needs of the road user and the needs of wildlife. Some verges in East Lothian are particularly good for wildflowers and are not cut until later in the summer. These are mainly in the east of the county or in some woodland areas. Most verges, however, would grow too tall and floppy for this type of management, masking the edge of the road and making it unsafe.

East Lothian Council recognises the value of biodiversity and encourages wildlife where it can. Parks are planted with bee-friendly species and 2 ha of wildflower seed are sown every year in and around our towns and villages. Our countryside sites, such as John Muir Country Park near Dunbar, are managed specifically to promote biodiversity allowing wildflowers to be seen at their best.

Grass cutting in urban locations is carried out by our Landscape and Countryside Management.

Rural verge cutting is generally undertaken by our Transportation Division who use external contractors to cut grass at least twice during the growing season.

northern marsh orchids

John Muir House, Court Street, Haddington, EH41 3HA

Telephone: 01875 824305

Fax: 01620 827710

Landscape and Countryside, East Lothian Council, Block C Brewery Park, Haddington, EH41 3HA.

Telephone: 01620 827421

East Lothian Council, John Muir House Brewery Park Haddington East Lothian EH41 3HA.