Making transport corridors work for wildlife

Illustration showing measures to help wildlife near our roads and railwaysHow to build a Living Landscape across our transport network

Our transport corridors are rarely managed with wildlife in mind, despite the fact that they are linear features with the potential to act as corridors for wildlife as well as vehicles.

Roadside habitats

Grassland verges can support a diverse range of species if managed in the right way. Depending on the flowers present, verges are best cut either once in late summer or once in the spring and once in early autumn. This will ensure that tall plants do not cause unnecessary visual obstruction for vehicles, whilst allowing rare species to thrive and set seed. It is really important to collect and remove the cuttings because this reduces soil nutrients, allowing rare wildflowers that thive on poor soil to emerge.

Green cycleways

Good principles of sustainable development aim for the creation of cycle routes to enable people to get between places more sustainably and healthily. This can help to restore networks for wildlife; habitat creation alongside strategically chosen routes can link patches of habitat up and provide a pleasant and relaxing environment to cycle through.

Wildlife crossings

Roads can create significant barriers to wildlife through habitat destruction and fragmentation. Sub-dividing the habitat can even result in extinction of fragile local populations altogether. Wildlife crossings allow animals to cross roads, railways and other man-made barriers safely. A crossing could be an underpass, overpass (or ecoduct), green bridge, amphibian/small mammal tunnel or viaduct. Integrating environmental factors in the earliest phases of road design prevents fragmentation of habitats and can reduce injury or death from wildlife-motorist collisions.

Lineside habitats

Habitats alongside railway lines can provide for birds, insects, small mammals and plants. Species commonly linked to lineside habitats include reptiles, kestrels, orange-tip butterflies, great spotted woodpeckers and bats.