No, Robocut is no relation to the cyborg cop from the 1980s film. It’s the latest high-tech equipment that’s improving and restoring roadside verges on the A66 in Cumbria, to make them more pollinator-friendly.
All this month Highways England contractors Ground Control are using Robocut to create additional pollinator habitat along the A66 and A595. Innovative machinery such as Robocut and the Metrac Reform are being used to clear and remove rank vegetation, before harrowing, seeding and planting plugs of native wildflowers, including yellow rattle, betony and black knapweed.
The photo shows how wide verges can be, not just the strip that runs alongside the road. Much of the work is being done ‘behind the scenes’, which benefits pollinators without affecting road users. The additional sites will act as ‘stepping stones’ of habitat, allowing pollinators to move more freely across North West Cumbria along ‘best fit’ ecological networks.
This work is part of Get Cumbria Buzzing, a partnership between Cumbria Wildlife Trust, local communities, Highways England and a wide range of organisations, to take action for pollinators across North West Cumbria. The project aims to combat the loss of our pollinating insects by restoring their habitats, including verges. Over the last 75 years, the UK has lost 97% of flower-rich meadows, 50% of hedgerows, and 60% of flowering plants are in decline.
For more information about Get Cumbria Buzzing go to www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/getcumbriabuzzing