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Pavement parkers to be kept off grass verges by wildflower planting

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Pavement parkers are to be nudged into giving up the habit with the help of some flower power.

The city council will trial planting flowers along verges to discourage parking
The city council will trial planting flowers along verges to discourage parking

The city council has been experimenting with sowing wildflowers along verges and on green spaces next to pavements to ward off drivers from mounting the kerb when they park.

And it seems to have had some initial success, as a report to the South Area Committee states, so a wider reaching trial will be introduced.

The report from John Richards, Public Realm Engineering and Project Delivery Team Leader, says: “Frequent driving, and parking, on and across verges” is causing “rutting, damage to and loss of grass, trees and other green landscaping”.

The report was written after South Area Committee requested an update on the Council’s investigation work to better manage damage to highways verges, in particular through parking.

Previously the city council has applied parking restrictions to Fendon Road and Mowbray Road in Queen Edith’s ward to try to prevent damage to the verges by cars parking on them.

Wild flowers help keep drivers off grass verges
Wild flowers help keep drivers off grass verges

But fines have generally been less than £100, which was not enough to deter the parking. And the cost of setting up and staffing the scheme has been more than £8,000.

The report states that maintaining the verges is important because they are effective at improving air quality, absorbing rainfall and reducing flood risk.

In his report, John Richards explains that a programme of seeded seasonal wildflower meadows had been introduced across various locations, including some highway verge areas, over the past two years, with ‘great success’.

He states: “Local biodiversity has been enhanced, with flowering areas adding much to seasonal colour to the delight of Cambridge’s residents and visitors. Such activity is also very good value for money, with relatively small up-front costs and ongoing savings from reduced grass cutting.”

A small scale trial programme focusing on one or two locations in the city will now be carried out to see if this scheme could work city-wide.

The programme has been reviewed to ensure it can be managed and delivered without the requirement for additional staffing resource.

Mr Richards writes: “The proposals aim to preserve and improve the quality of the natural and built public realm environment across Cambridge, in a manner that does not contribute towards climate change and leaves a positive legacy for future generations.”

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