Council planning changes to its grass-cutting regime
Scottish Borders Council is planning changes to its grass-cutting regime with a more ‘relaxed’ approach set to be adopted.
In a bid to deliver savings SBC agreed in 2018 to move away from a 10 to a 20 working day grass cutting cycle at play parks, schools, cemeteries, village greens, care homes and other open spaces.
Creating areas of biodiversity also encouraged less regular cutting cycles.
Latest statistics reveal a fluctuation in cutting cycles between areas across the region, with staff sickness levels in the Parks & Environment department playing its part, as does an ageing fleet of vehicles.
According to records, there have been 17 official complaints relating to grass cutting undertaken by the department since October 2022.
Now a grass management review is to be carried out to develop a new model of priority sites that require more regular cuts and more ‘relaxed’ cutting regimes in other areas.
In order to trial this approach, three pilots are to launched on the Duns/Chirnside/Westruther route in Berwickshire, the Galashiels/Tweedbank route at Eildon and the Hawick landward route at Teviot & Liddesdale.
A report, approved by John Curry, SBC’s director of Infrastructure and Environment, says: “The objective is to use local knowledge – empowering staff and working with communities – to build on the ‘biodiversity sites’ already established and trial relaxed cutting regimes where appropriate.
“By reducing the frequency of cuts in these sites, it is anticipated this will enable squads to deploy additional cuts in agreed priority sites, at key times of the year, where required.
“This builds in flexibility to the routine cyclical works, enabled by focussing resources on these key areas. The naturalised sites would still receive 1-2 cuts per year and would need to be monitored to manage weed control.
“Following this, engagement with relevant community councils and other stakeholders will be undertaken, to agree priorities for service delivery.
“Once agreed, new route designs will be prepared in advance of the 2024 growing season.”