MORE THAN £2 million of funding will help create and restore the verges of the A303 enhancing habitat for wildlife as well as restoring a section of the nearby River Avon which will help fish, otters, birds, bees, and butterflies. 

£1.5million of National Highways funding stream will go towards creating and restoring 8.45 hectares (20 acres) of special rich grasslands along the A303. £500,000 Wessex Rivers Trust scheme will also enhance the river Avon between Durrington and Lord's Walk in Amesbury near to the Countess Roundabout. 

Salisbury Journal: Restoring part of the river AvonRestoring part of the river Avon (Image: National Highways)Read more: Parts of city flooded after more rain

National Highways’ Environmental Advisor Ben Hewlett said: “The increase in wildflowers will not only have wider biodiversity benefits and provide some impressive visual displays, but it will reduce long-term maintenance costs and reduce our carbon footprint through fewer maintenance visits.

“Species-rich verges and roadsides will also help to connect people with nature and improve the wellbeing of millions of people using our roads every day.”

Some preparatory work has already begun including on a section of the Salisbury Plain Site of Special Scientific Interest. Once the first phase of clearance and felling work has been completed, planting will begin in the spring to bring native species of wildflowers to the A303. 

Supporting the National Pollinators' Strategy, National Highways' target of no net loss of biodiversity by 2025 will help to create an ecological buffer and network of vital habits for pollinators. 

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Salisbury Journal: Restoration workRestoration work (Image: National Highways)

National Highway's Environmental Sustainability Division Lead, Steve Elderkin, said: “Our goal is to support the wellbeing of current and future generations and we recognise, in particular, the environmental impact the road network can have on communities.

“Through our Designated Funds and Social Value Funds, we are looking at ways to tackle this impact such as reduced pollution, better green spaces, supporting active travel, climate resilience and flood prevention.

“We’re investing in the environment and communities surrounding our network, as well as the people travelling and working on it, and we’re pleased to be working with Amey and Chevron to deliver this roadside biodiversity scheme and supporting the Wessex Rivers Trust in their work to improve the biodiversity of the river surrounding the A303 in Wiltshire.”

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Wessex Rivers Trust's Senior Project Officer, Matt Irvine, said: “This exciting project aims to improve nearly two miles of rare chalk stream habitat and improve fish passage upstream.

“The project will help facilitate an improvement in the ecological condition of this stretch of the River Avon, benefitting many of our iconic species and opening up many miles of spawning opportunities for our fish species.”

Plantlife's National Road Verges Advisor, Mark Schofield, said: “Road verges provide safe haven for over 700 species of wildflowers, and nearly 45% of our total flora. 

"We are keen to see more widespread adoption of less intense management of wildflower-rich roadside grassland, where safety permits."