More wildflower verges are to be planted across London to encourage biodiversity, with greater amounts of carbon being stored in the soil.
Transport for London (TfL) plans to add another 74,000 square metres of wildflower verges, taking the total across the capital to almost 130,000 square metres.
The new sites were selected after trials across north London, where TfL reduced mowing frequency in order to encourage wildflowers.
The trial sites, which included Redbridge Roundabout, Rowley Lane roundabout on the A1 and along the A40 in Hillingdon were assessed by TfL's in-house environmental and asset management teams. The new locations include Gants Hill roundabout in Redbridge, Clockhouse roundabout in Feltham and on the A21 Sevenoaks Road (Green Street Green) in Bromley.
The programme is a key part of TfL’s forthcoming Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Plan. This will provide information on TfL's approach to protecting, connecting and enhancing biodiversity and how TfL will work with other organisations.
Wildflower verges take several years to fully develop and are in bloom for a limited period of the?year. TfL will continue to maintain these verges, but mowing will be timed to allow wildflowers to grow, with edges regularly mowed to ensure they remain safe for passing drivers.
Signage will also be installed to make clear that these areas are being managed to encourage wildflower growth. TfL will be keeping all sites under review and also looking at whether additional sites both on the TfL Road Network, as well as on other green spaces managed by TfL, could be managed this way in the coming years.
As well as increasing biodiversity on roadside verges, TfL is also working to implement new Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) across London, with a particular focus on SuDS that include green infrastructure, such as rain gardens.
TfL's recently published Business Plan has allocated up to £2m per year of funding to improve understanding of the impacts of climate change and to develop and deliver plans to adapt to it. This is in addition to the £4m Green and Healthy Streets Fund provided by the Mayor to deliver sustainable drainage on both TfL's roads and those managed by the boroughs. With the right capital investment, TfL believes that it can accelerate the Mayor's and TfL's ambitious plans and become a net zero-carbon city by 2030.
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