Posted: 11.07.19 at 14:21 by The Editor
Residents are being invited to share their ideas and suggestions on ways to boost biodiversity through Rutland County Council's grounds maintenance activities.
The council is responsible for grounds maintenance on most public land, including roadside verges, public open spaces and closed churchyards. This includes grass cutting, weed spraying and hedge trimming.
More than 40 miles of roadside verges in Rutland are currently protected as either ‘local wildlife sites’ or Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The way that Rutland County Council cuts the grass in these areas supports rare plant and animal life, such as orchids and glow worms.
The council is making a commitment to review its approach to grounds maintenance on highway verges and sites like closed churchyards and public open spaces as an opportunity to further enhance biodiversity in towns and villages.
Councillor Gordon Brown, Cabinet Member for the Environment at Rutland County Council, said: “This is the time of year when we carry out most of our grass cutting and grounds maintenance activity, as well as making sure footpaths don’t become blocked by overgrown hedges.
"We cut grass along the highway for road safety reasons - so that drivers have good visibility at junctions.
"However, biodiversity remains a key consideration.
“When it comes to public open spaces and closed churchyards, our activity is currently geared towards making sure people can access and use these areas.
"Traditionally, people have asked us to cut public open spaces, and particularly closed churchyards, as often as possible while we now know others would prefer to see more space given over to nature to support even greater biodiversity.
"With this in mind, we are now considering how these areas could be managed differently and will look to consult on this during autumn 2019.
“In the meantime, we welcome any constructive feedback on how biodiversity could be enhanced where you live.
"We’re also gathering all the comments and feedback that we’ve already received on this subject and will be taking this into account, as well.”
In addition to consulting on its approach to grounds maintenance, Rutland County Council is looking to trial the introduction of certain low-growing plants and flowers along some local roads - varieties such as Yellow Rattle, Broomrapes and Purple Toothwort, which would reduce the need for verge cutting.
Anyone with feedback about the council’s grounds maintenance services can email [email protected]