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Like many towns, the village of Long Newnton in England has long struggled with drivers speeding as they come into town. The town installed a flashing speed sign with a radar detector and found that 90% of drivers are pushing the 30 mph limit.

Di Thomas, the chair of Long Newnton Parish Council, said of that 90% statistic, “It’s a shocking number…As a community, we are trying so hard to work out how we slow the speeding”. But the town did not have the budget to ramp up enforcement. Then something miraculous happened.

Long Newnton set about increasing biodiversity in the town’s green spaces by planting a mix of wildflowers. And as a byproduct, drivers began to slow down.

A village with a canal and wildflower field.
Village | Luca J via Unsplash

Jenny Forde, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Cotswold District Council has a theory why this happened. “Evidence has shown that if you introduce things like wildflowers, drivers will slow down because they feel like they’re coming into somewhere that’s looked after.”

But I wonder if drivers just slowed down to enjoy the view of a field full of wildflowers in the English countryside. Whatever the reason wildflowers work to slow down drivers, Long Newnton doubled down. Resident Sue Wykes said: “Anything we can do to slow the traffic down in the village is going to be beneficial for the community.” And it seems most villagers agree. A local crowdfunding campaign has raised nearly £8,000 ($10k) to plant more flowers.

I think this solution is a win-win. Newnton residents can beautify their town while also addressing their speeding issue for a fraction of the cost of adding enforcement. Who knew that instead of adding more cops, we can just plant flowers?

Next, read about a car club that surprised an 8-year-old with an 80-car parade for his birthday, or you can see a walking tour of the countryside around Long Newnton for yourself in the video below: