Frequently asked questions about nature friendly verges

Why has the council decided to proceed with this trial?

The council is keen to support biodiversity in the borough, particularly given that there is evidence of significant biodiversity loss in the UK. Nature Friendly Verges are one way in which we can do this. By changing the management regime at these verges, we will lower nutrient levels in the soil which will support diverse wildflowers to establish over time. Wildflowers provide habitat and support the creation of pollinator corridors that link green spaces, and that link urban and rural areas which helps conserve nature. You can read more about the decision in our verges trial report.

This initiative builds on other actions that the council is taking to support Biodiversity, such as the introduction of butterfly scrapes in some of our parks and open spaces and introducing areas of meadow at more countryside sites.

How did you decide which sites to include in the trial?

The verge locations were chosen by the Nature Friendly Verges Working Group which was established by the Environment & Community Services Policy Development & Scrutiny Committee and included members of the council from four different parties.

The working group selected the verge locations from a long list of sites that had been drawn up by idverde (the council’s parks management and grounds maintenance contractor) with suggestions made by key stakeholders, including the Countryside Consultative Panel and Bromley Biodiversity Partnership.

The working group chose locations to get a good geographical spread across the borough so that there were trial sites in both urban and rural environments, and to be able to engage a large number of residents by trialling sites in their communities.

There are verges that were not considered appropriate for inclusion in the long list put forward for the trial, for example where the verge might create hazards for vehicles or pedestrians by affecting sight lines, or verges in particularly sensitive areas such as cemeteries.

Can we suggest other verges to be included in the trial?

The Working Group chose 11 sites in the borough for the first phase of the trial; the verge locations for this phase are now closed.

If trial successful, the council will consider expanding this to other locations in the borough. You can suggest alternative locations by completing our survey.

Exactly which verges are included in the trial sites?

You can view the trial site location maps on our verges map.

How long will it take for wildflower to establish on these verges?

The trial is two years long, and we expect it will take about this length of time to enable wildflowers to fully establish. The length of time my vary depending on soil type, and/or pollution or nutrient levels, but most verges should have diverse wildflowers by the time the trial comes to an end.

I am concerned that these verges will act as litter traps.  How will you manage this?

It is important to remember that Nature Friendly Verges will continue to be managed verges. Therefore, routine maintenance such as litter removal will continue, with most of this activity occurring when picture frame mowing takes place.  We would also welcome the support of our communities to keep these verges free from litter by encouraging people to act responsibly and take their litter home.
We would also welcome support from our volunteer groups with this work. If you are interested in getting involved in this way, you can tell us by completing our survey.

Will there be an increased fire risk? How will you mitigate this?

We have liaised with the London Fire Brigade around fire risks in our parks and open spaces as a result of hotter weather who confirm that the primary cause of fire is human behaviour, not long grass. Therefore, we do not expect there to be a significantly increased risk of fire at Nature Friendly Verges trial sites. However, we will continue to monitor this risk, as we do for all green spaces and will take mitigating action if required.

What monitoring of the verges will you do during the trial?

Our grounds maintenance teams will continue to visit these sites regularly to review their condition. We will also be undertaking survey work on the plants and species found in these verges and comparing this against our baseline data to monitor the impact the trial has on biodiversity.

Will more wildflower areas be introduced in parks to support the verges?

There are approximately 100 hectares of meadows and naturalised grasslands across the 168 park and open space sites, and we have been working particularly in urban environments to introduce more of these spaces. We welcome suggestions and feedback about where additional naturalised grassland might be introduced, and you can do this by completing our survey

What other Local Authorities have implemented this type of management regime and what has the impact been?

Several Local Authorities in the UK have trialled similar management regimes and there is plenty of information available online about these schemes. In London, we are aware that there are currently similar trials in Kingston (Wildways) and Lambeth (Bee Roads), for example. Dorset County Council have made changes to the way that they manage their verges in both urban and rural locations recognising the biodiversity benefits this will have for the county.

Will the council be removing fallen leaves from the Nature Friendly Verges?

The council has an autumn leaf clearance programme which prioritises areas of hard standing and pavements to manage the risks they can create for pedestrians. We are not proposing making any changes to the programme in relation to the Nature Friendly Verges. Whilst leaf drop can result in some nutrient introduction, this is not considered to have a significant impact on soil quality. The council manages several meadows where leaf drop is a regular feature and still records good levels of floristic diversity.

How can I submit photographs of the trial verges?

We would welcome photographs of verges during the trial period. Please submit these via email to

What will you do to keep verges safe from vehicle incursion?

Vehicles are not permitted to park on verges in the borough. Please report these issues and request parking enforcement at Report incorrect parking.

We are concerned that the Nature Friendly Verges will result in increased examples of dog fouling. How will you manage this?

This has not been an issue on other managed areas of long grass in our open spaces, but we will monitor this and continue to encourage responsible dog ownership. 

How will you engage young people in this trial?

The council and idverde have offered schools adjacent to verge sites a complimentary environmental education session at their school as part of our engagement plan for this trial. We are also developing plans for other ways to involve young residents in our monitoring activities and will keep the website updated.