Changes to grasscutting and bedding plant provision
What are the changes in 2019?
2019 will see further discussions around bedding plant provision, biodiversity and new wildflower areas to be introduced in local communities. Discussions have already taken place with some communities about potential changes in their areas, including at the first spring #yourpart seminar in March 2019 which saw a variety of speakers offer information and advice on topics which ranged from biodiversity, sustainable food production and potential funding streams.
However, we would welcome further conversations with community groups about working together can ensure we all play our part to maintain our beautiful region for local people and visitors.
More details of the specific bedding plant provision and wildflower proposals for each community will be available here in coming weeks.
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.
Bedding plant provision
The new provision will take affect from autumn 2019, allowing us time to redesign areas and liaise with community groups. The provision will be 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.
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. A total of 20 areas were included in a pilot in 2017, including a popular pedestrian link between Tweedbank and Abbotsford House. This new approach will come into force in 2019. Friends of the Earth commissioned a study in 2017 which found 81 per cent of British people would support more wildflower areas in parks and roadside verges.
We are still seeking nominations for 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
- 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 9 or 11 or day 19 or 21 depending on our schedule. Grass cutting 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.