Council goes wild in new plan to transform grid roads in Milton Keynes

They'll be more wildflowers and longer grass to encourage biodiversity

By Sally Murrer
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 12:56 pm
More wildflowers will be encouraged alongside MK's grid roads
More wildflowers will be encouraged alongside MK's grid roads

MK Council has unveiled a new plan to transform grid roads while making the borough cleaner, greener and safer

The Progressive Alliance has unveiled a policy document that details how the Council will improve and maintain the grid road network across the city in the most sustainable way possible.

The eco-conscious plan is the first of its kind in the UK and explains how the grid roads will be transformed into green transport corridors with "meadow seeding" where possible.

Key features of the plan include:

* Prioritising and continuing the wildflower seeding programme, and ensuring residents are aware of when and where this is happening by creating a ‘Wild MK seeding map’ and placing signs next to the road

* Continuing to reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides on grid roads, and seeking to find an alternative approach to weed management

* Undertaking more deep cleans on brickwork, roundabouts, bridges, and splitter islands while also replacing and repainting signage, road markings, and cracks in infrastructure where necessary

* Developing a cyclical closure and maintenance programme to minimise disruption for road users and provide a safe working environment for those repairing the roads

* Changing the number of grass cuts in certain areas along the grid roads to enhance biodiversity

Councillor Lauren Townsend, Labour Progressive Alliance Cabinet ember for Public Realm, will bring the report to Cabinet next week:

She said: “The Progressive Alliance takes pride in Milton Keynes and wants to work to ensure our iconic travel corridors are the best they can be. We will make all grid roads cleaner, greener and safer, while also focussing on a ‘golden grid’ network of roads. The most used roads, including the V6, H8, H5 and H6, require extra investment as they are seen by millions of people each year. This golden grid will have prioritised cyclical maintenance, so that these primary gateways remain attractive to visitors, businesses and residents all year round.”

Councillor Jenny Wilson-Marklew, Labour Progressive Alliance Cabinet Member for Climate Action and Sustainability, added: “Our grass verges are home to countless species of wildlife, so it is crucial we have a diverse range of habitats, as some animals favour shorter grass to find food, whereas others like to nest in longer grass. This variation will promote biodiversity and help us on our journey to be carbon negative by 2050, all while becoming the greenest city in the world.”

MK's original landscape design policy, devised in 1971, had four objectives - to achieve a visual character consistent with the vegetation of lowland UK, to create species zones in the city in large increments giving a sense of location and for zones to have sharp comprehendible boundaries, to achieve a plant mixture within each zone which is capable of responding to the full range of situations that might arise, and to make it possible to forecast plant requirements with reasonable accuracy for years to come.

The council's new management regime will promote greater environmental quality and there will be a less maintenance intensive regime with a wider promotion of grassland, meadows and extended season bulb planting cultivation..