SIR - By the time the Craven Herald publishes this letter it is most likely that more council tax has been wasted and more flowers massacred, by Highways cutting local verges by far too early.

Managing the verges is important, of course, but cutting them this time of the year is wasteful and counter-productive.

Highways agrees that there is little to cut in May and that there are no safety issues involved at that time.

County Council policy sets July as the first cutting date when most wild flower seeds have set.

Yet even our County Councillor cannot stop them cutting too early. So much for democratic control.

Cutting the verges in May means killing off the spring flowers and depriving a lot of small wildlife of cover.

At the moment, despite bad management of the verges for years, there are a few orchids growing on verges between Horton and Ribblehead. They will be mown down as will all the other spring flowers, at the same time stunting the growth of the few summer flowers.

Whatever the theory behind these unnecessary early cuts, in practice our verges show that cutting at the wrong time impoverishes their biodiversity, but encourages dock and nettles to grow.

For decades now, officers of the National Park have kindly met with representatives of County Council, Highways and local residents leading to written agreements where to cut and when, only to be ignored the following year.

This waste of staff resources, council tax and plant life must stop.

Let’s hope Highways takes more notice of the Craven Herald than it does of elected councillors and plant experts.

Wilf Fenten, The Shaws, Selside, Settle