Road verges cover 1.2% of Great Britain, an area the size of Dorset, and could be used to grow wildflower meadows and create habitat for wildlife, a new study says. In a report outlining the scale of road verges in England, Scotland and Wales, researchers from the University of Exeter used Google Earth and Google Street View to estimate that verges account for about 1,000 sq miles (2,579 sq km) of the UK’s land. According to the report, up to 707 sq km (27.47%) of road verges are short, frequently mown grassland. The rest includes 1,062 sq km (40.87%) of regular grassland, while 480 sq km (18.73%) is woodland, and 272 sq km (10.66%) is scrub. The report states this type of land, defined as the strip of land between the roadside and the fence, presents “significant opportunities” to improve verges as “multifunctional green spaces” in urban areas and densely populated regions, where land scarcity is an issue. Ben Phillips, lead author into the report from University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute , said: “Our key message is that there’s a lot of road verge in Great Britain and we could manage it much better for nature. About […]

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