HAMPSHIRE Highways has been accused of destroying wild orchids whilst mowing a verge.

Pieter Lette told the Chronicle that work has recently been carried out on the roundabout between the B3047 and the A31 near Alresford.

He described the job as a "serious breech of responsibility".

"Hampshire County Council have mown all the verges around and on the roundabout. This, despite clear one-metre high markers showing the extent of wild flower verges. To the best of my knowledge this action has destroyed many wild orchids.

"These are protected by law, which raises the possibility that their action was illegal. There has been a serious breech of responsibility on the part of Highways."

Mr Lette added that he has tried to speak to the department but is unable to get through.

Cllr Rob Humby, deputy leader of Hampshire County Council and executive member for economy, transport and environment, has since replied to the Chronicle.

He said: “The Ladycroft Roundabout is recognised as a Road Verge of Ecological Importance but nevertheless we have a responsibility to ensure that sightlines and forward visibility are maintained for safety purposes, and this is especially important on a higher speed road like the A31.

"We have recently reviewed how we manage roadside vegetation to ensure that we are cutting the minimum required to keep our road users safe whilst protecting the natural environment and we have been working with the conservation charity, Plantlife, and adopting their advice on the optimum time for carrying out verge maintenance.

"Plantlife recognise the importance of maintaining safety on the highway network."