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Council’s grass cutting policy

Published: 09/03/2015

A revision to the County Council’s grass cutting policy will be discussed by Councillors this week (beginning Monday 9 March). The revision is one of a number of financial saving measures being introduced as part of the County Council’s challenge to find efficiencies in the order of £18+m in the coming financial year. The County has a legal responsibility to manage the Highway Network in terms of keeping routes available and safe for highway users. Under the revised draft policy, all current standards for urban grass verges will remain unchanged. In rural locations, the number of cuts at visibility splays will remain at four per year. The changes to the policy relate to rural verges, and are: - The number of cuts on rural verges at non visibility locations will be reduced from two cuts per year to one. (The timing of the cut will be dependent on the weather, but the target date will be June). Principal roads will be cut once a year, instead of twice, to a width of two swathes (approximately two metres). All rural Non Principal and Unclassified roads will be cut to one swathe width (approximately one metre), once a year, instead of twice a year. - In rural areas, a back to boundary cut on verges will be carried out for weed and self sown sapling control every six years instead of every three. - Over the next three years, there are also plans to tender and market test the grass cutting service, to reduce the expensive hiring of specialist plant and equipment and to ensure the most cost effective service. The changes are expected to make savings of £75,000 a year. Councillor Bernie Attridge, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “The Grass Cutting Policy is being revised as part of our challenge to find efficiencies across the Council in the coming financial year, and the revisions were agreed as part of the budget setting proposals. Letting the grass grow longer is also excellent for bio-diversity, and means that the grasses and wildflowers are able to flower and set seed, building up a more varied seed bank in the soil. “As part of the Scrutiny process, we are working with County, town and community councillors to discuss changes to this policy at workshops being held early this week. Following that process, the final revised Policy will then be subject to approval at Cabinet in April 2015.”