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.
Why we cut verges
Overgrowth of vegetation can create a safety hazard for highway users by obstructing visibility at junctions; forcing highway users (particularly horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians) into the road; and, adversely affecting surface water drainage, causing localised flooding.
In the rural environment the council only cuts vegetation to ensure highway safety or to facilitate other highway works. Verge cutting is expensive and only done where required.
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.
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.
If you are aware of a verge causing visibility problems at a junction please report this to the Transportation division.