Falkirk grass cutting pilot could mean more trees - but fewer cuts

A new pilot will look at how cutting the grass less often on some Falkirk Council land could create more space for local wildlife and help tackle climate change.

By Kirsty Paterson
Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 12:30 pm
Picture Michael Gillen.
Picture Michael Gillen.

The study will involve 35 areas around the district - from public parks to roadside verges - to find the best ways of managing the land and save the council cash along the way.

At the moment, more than 600 hectares of grass is cut twelve times a year - but the pilot will look at options such as delaying the first cut, creating meadows, cutting less often or even leaving grass uncut.

They'll also look at planting more trees, bulbs and wildflowers in some areas in a bid to boost biodiversity.

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The pilot areas are around five per cent of the council's total grassland, members of Falkirk Council's executive heard.

It includes popular parks such as Dollar Park in Falkirk and Gala Park in Denny but will only affect small parts and will use signage to explain any changes.

The report insists playing fields and areas used for events such as gala days won't be affected.

Grass verges will be part of the study, although any areas that affect motorists' vision will be kept neat.

Introducing the proposal, Councillor Paul Garner said there was already support from many people who had seen the uncut grass during lockdown as a benefit to wildlife.

Labour and Conservative councillors, however, said they were worried that people will see the project as a cost-cutting measure and asked for more consultation with communities.

Councillor Lynn Munro said it was vital to communicate properly to address concerns about things such as dog fouling, fly tipping, allergies and tick bites if they were to get people on board.

Councillors were assured that there will be consultation throughout the pilot and feedback from local communities will help to shape what happens next.

Councillor Garner said that accepting the report proves Falkirk Council is taking the climate and biodiversity emergencies seriously.

He said: "Falkirk Council has taken a major step towards demonstrating we are all doing our part with this important pilot project and I look forward to seeing the results."

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