A butterfly success story next to Weymouth Relief Road was being held up as an example of how authorities and landowners around the country can help save our pollinators.

It came as UK wildlife charities – including one based in Dorset – teamed up with England’s government advisor on natural environment to persuade local councils and landowners save butterflies, bees and moths.

At the first event of its kind, local authorities and other organisations were asked to change the way they manage road verges, roundabouts and other valuable grassland habitats to benefit wildlife.

More wildflowers and less mowing featured in the topics discussed at the symposium last week at the Earth Trust in Oxfordshire.

The event was organised by The Wildlife Trusts, Lulworth-based Butterfly Conservation and Natural England.

The success of the verge management along Weymouth Relief Road which has led to a growth in butterflies is one example of how pollinators are being supported.

Dr Phil Sterling from Butterfly Conservation said: “Butterflies, bees and moths can all benefit from simple changes to the way our road verges and roundabouts are managed, but we have proof that local authorities and landowners can also save themselves money by adopting these new approaches, so it’s a win-win for all involved.

“A number of councils are already planting more wildflowers, which is fantastic and the public have been very supportive of this.

"In Dorset I worked with the county council to plant wildflowers next to a major new road development near Weymouth. Previously only a couple of butterflies were recorded there, but ten years on, we can now find at least 30 different butterfly species beside this busy main road.”

At least 21 local authorities from across England and Wales are attending the event, as well as organisations like South East Water, Highways England, Transport for London, University researchers and landowners like the National Trust.

Dr Richard Jefferson, a grassland specialist from Natural England, said: “Natural England are really pleased to be supporting this symposium as road verges are often the last vestiges of wildflower-rich grasslands in many areas and are a very important habitat for biodiversity conservation. They are a fundamental resource for maintaining and re-building biodiversity in urban and rural areas.

“In particular, they will form part of a Nature Recovery Network, a major commitment in the Government’s 25 year environment plan that will improve, expand and connect wildlife-rich habitats.”