Call to help Rutland support wildlife where council cuts the grass
Ideas are being sought by Rutland County Council to help it support wildlife in grass verges and other places where it cuts the grass.
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). How the county cuts the grass in these areas supports rare plant and animal life, such as orchids and glow worms.
Now, the council is reviewing its approach to grounds maintenance on highway verges and sites like closed churchyards and public open spaces aiming to further boost biodiversity in towns and villages.
Rutland's cabinet member for Environment, Coun Gordon Brown, said the council carries out most of its grass cutting and grounds maintenance over the summer. It ensures overgrown hedges don't block footpaths and grass is cut along highways so drivers have good visibility at junctions. But biodiversity still matters, along with public access.
Coun Brown (Con-Ketton) continued: "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.”
Furthermore, the council is looking to plant certain low-growing plants and flowers along some local roads – varieties such as Yellow Rattle, Broomrapes and Purple Toothwort, which reduce the need for verge cutting.
To comment on Rutland's grounds maintenance services email firstname.lastname@example.org.