Grasscutting and bedding plant provision FAQs

Bedding plant provision

Since Autumn 2019 we no longer provides annual bedding plants, whilst enabling us to achieve financial benefits it also stops us impacting on the environment in a negative way due to the carbon impacts of bedding plant production and maintenance. Instead we have worked with communities to consider the impacts of the changes and where possible agree to either:

  • introduce permanent rather than seasonal displays
  • grass over areas
  • support communities who wish to undertake bedding plant maintenance as part of their ‘In Bloom’ activities

Biodiversity

Areas of grass have been identified that will be left to grow long and cut once or twice per year. The aim of this is to provide habitat and food for insects and other wildlife. The grass will be cut and taken away near the end of the year. See proposals for new biodiversity areas across the Scottish Borders.

There is a change in management of steep sloping ground and marginal long grass areas which will increase natural colonisation of flowering species for pollinators, contributing positively to biodiversity across the region.

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act (2004), all public bodies in Scotland are required to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities.

Our Biodiversity Duty Reporting 2015-17 summarises that 'Local authorities have a key role in delivering biodiversity through their land management and operational activities'.  

As set out in the Greenspace Strategy, we have committed to managing amenity green space accordingly to maximise biodiversity value.

Third Party Land

We have maps of third party land which we currently maintain and would like to speak to the landowners, or members of community whose local knowledge can help us identify the landowners.

Grasscutting

From 2018, there was a change of approach to general amenity grass areas (including cemeteries) so grass that was previously cut once every 10 working days is cut approximately every 20 working days. This method is widely used throughout the UK and Scotland as an appropriate, sustainable and efficient method of maintaining greenspace. 

Increased wildflower areas

We will be increasing the current wildflower areas in the Borders to improve the biodiversity of the area. We have developed a series of sites throughout the Scottish Borders where we will be trialling wildflower mixes. See the list of sites below:

Eildon

  • Earlston – William Bank
  • Galashiels- Stirling Square
  • Selkirk – The Green

Berwickshire

  • Duns – Primary School entrance
  • Ayton – B6355 Junction for Chirnside
  • Eyemouth – New Harbour Road

Teviot and Liddesdale

  • Denholm – Quoiting Haugh
  • Hawick – Wilton Lodge Park
  • Hawick – Wilton Path

Tweeddale

  • Peebles – Neidpath Road
  • Peebles – Victoria Park
  • Peebles – Whitestone Park

Cheviot

  • Kelso – Ogilvie Way
  • Jedburgh – A68 Edinburgh Road
  • Jedburgh – Duck Row

We are also trialling some sites for cutting and lifting three times per year to monitor natural colonisation of pollinator friendly planting:

  • Kelso – Bridge End Park
  • Tweedbank – Tweedbank Park
  • Chirnside – The Quarry
  • Hawick – Moat Park
  • Peebles – Haylodge Park

Friends of the Earth commissioned a study in 2017 which found 81% of British people would support more wildflower areas in parks and roadside verges.

We are always keen to hear your views on areas we own which could be turned into grassland or wildflower meadows to improve biodiversity.

How do you decide between high amenity and general amenity?

High amenity sites are classified as key civic spaces such as memorials, formal parks and gardens and monuments.

General amenity sites are classified as

  • cemeteries
  • informal recreation areas
  • village greens
  • left over space in housing areas

The grass area near me has not been cut on a 10 or 20 working day cycle?

It may be that we cut on day nine,11,19 or 21 depending on our schedule. Grasscutting operations are very dependent on weather conditions, so it may be that the grass cutting has had to be delayed.

Why are you not cutting steep slopes as often as previously?

We have a responsibility to the welfare of our staff and following Health and Safety advice we have received, we have chosen to reduce the frequency of grass cutting on steep slopes, and the way we do it.

I want to start maintaining an area within my community, can I do so?

We have a number of ‘In Bloom’ groups across the Borders who do fantastic work to help maintain our region and enter our Floral Gateway competition. If they, or other community groups or individuals, want to get involved in keeping their community looking good and helping biodiversity, please get in touch. We have funding which you may be able to access to help. 

We are always keen to hear your views on areas we own which could be turned into grassland or wildflower meadows to improve biodiversity.

Please be aware that under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, all birds, their nests and eggs are protected by law and it is an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb a wild bird nest.

We have a community event coming up, can we ask for an area to receive an extra cut?

We know the importance of Common Ridings, summer festivals and major community events to the Borders, and are happy to discuss special requests for such events

I am unhappy that a general amenity area is not being cut as often, how do I complain?

We realise this will be a change for residents but it is not our intention to return to our previous grass cutting regime. We need to change to become financially and environmentally sustainable and we feel this is the best option in achieving the desired change.