Antonshill residents' concerns over Falkirk Council's plan to cut grass less often
An organisation has raised several concerns over a consultation on how cutting grass on Falkirk Council land less often could improve biodiversity.
The local authority has launched a Sustainable Grass Management Pilot Project with the aim of helping tackle climate change.
The initiative involves 35 areas around the district, including parks and roadside verges, and examines the best ways of creating more space for wildlife – while reducing council costs.
Currently, more than 600 hectares of grass is cut 12 times a year.
The new project will consider options such as delaying the first cut, creating meadows, planting more trees bulbs and wildflowers, cutting less frequently or even leaving grass uncut.
However, Antonshill Residents Association (ARA) is far from pleased with the proposals.
Billy Paterson, chairman, said: “We’ve seen what the council’s plans for so-called wild flowering mean in real life.
“For example, there used to be three areas given over to bedding plants on Muirhead Road, adjacent to Stenhousemuir Cemetery.
“The council simply abandoned these three years ago but, on enquiry, we were assured the former flower beds would be seeded with wild flowers. That was two years ago and I haven’t seen a single flower.
“The council’s wild flowered areas are not exactly eye-catching, neither do they appear to very enticing to bees and butterflies which the council claims to be keen to attract.
“As far as the grass cutting proposals go, local residents foresee major problems ahead, because much of Antonshill is built around Corrie Park, when the grass is cut many pathways, pavements and some roads are literally covered in grass cuttings.
“This is because the council has a policy of never clearing up any cuttings. In wet weather this is particularly dangerous for the residents in the two large sheltered housing areas in Antonshill.
“When the proposed longer grass increases in volume, then so will the danger to the older, less physically able residents.”
The planting plans outlined by Falkirk Council have also drawn criticism due to the previous placement of trees and how closely they’ve been situated to homes, with some having fallen on properties.
Mr Paterson continued: “We’ve already had trees falling onto houses. We’ve had large branches falling onto pavements and we’ve had even larger branches falling onto the road.
“It is to be hoped that should the council go ahead with the tree planting part, this time round, they pay particular attention to the health and safety implications of where they plant them.
“The plans they have published so far make no reference as to how they are going to take care of any trees they plant.
"We have a path in Antonshill which cannot be traversed from one end to the other because of overhanging trees.
“We also have a pavement that can be used by anyone up to the height of a ten or shorter 12-year-old.”
A council spokesman said: “The consultation remains open at this time and we’d encourage anyone with views to make theirs known via the survey.
“The results of the survey will help us determine what course of action we should take.”