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Road to change: How wildflowers on Cumbria's verges could save the bees

Work has begun to transform 60 roadside sites in Cumbria into wildflower habitats to help increase numbers of pollinating insects

Cumbria Wildlife Trust is carrying out a three year project called Get Cumbria Buzzing.

They're currently working on the A595 at Distington in west Cumbria. A robot mower is cutting away at some of the grass then raking it to allow more than 20 types of wildflowers to grow.

The project will cost approximately £1.6 million.

"We're planting about 20 different species including yellow rattle which is a really good wildflower plant which is becoming really rare and we've got oxeye daisy and napweed and a whole range of wildflowers that's we would've seen here in Cumbria but we are seeing less and less of as they're becoming more scarce"

– Tanya St Pierre Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Credit: PA

More than half of UK bee, butterfly and moth species have declined in the past 50 years, and 30 species of bees face extinction.

Over the last 75 years we’ve lost 97% of our flower rich meadows, 50% of our hedgerows, and 60% of flowering plants are in decline.

Highways England are working with Cumbria Wildlife Trust on some of the sites. The loss of habitat and species is partly down to the urbanisation of areas and road networks and the organisation says it tries to help the environment where possible

"Roads are by their very nature not very friendly for animals crossing them etc but we do have a responsibility to improve the assets and that might mean wildlife but water quality and noise pollution so we do try and improve it where we can"

– Rachel Osborn Highways England