Issue - meetings

Grass Cutting Performance Review

Meeting: 11/01/2022 - Environment & Economy Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Item 57)

57 Grass Cutting Performance Review pdf icon PDF 92 KB

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That the Committee supported the work being undertaken and was satisfied that no changes were required to the policy.


            The report was presented by the Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation). She introduced Neil Cox, the new Streetscene Service Manager to the committee. 


            It was good practice to review our practices and this service provision had been heavily impacted by the pandemic.  The Policy had been reviewed regularly since 2012 with the latest version approved in January 2020.  The report provided an overview of the performance throughout the 2021 season.  Members were referred to sections 1.02 and 1.07 which provided information on the operations and yearly cuts. The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) then referred to sections 1.10 and 1.11 and appendix 2 which provided a summary for each team and cuts during the season.   The impacts of the wet weather were also highlighted.   An explanation of the changes to the tendering process for the Weed Spraying Contract to make it more resilient, was also provided.  The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) finished by saying it was not proposed to make any changes to the policy.


            The Chair asked if the flower planting programme had helped with grass cutting.  In response the Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) reported that there were processes to follow such as collection and replanting at the beginning and end of the season, which still required resources. The Highways Network Manager confirmed there were in excess 50 small sites across the county which required different responses, with dedicated machinery and management.  The Council supported and promoted any areas which were put forward for wildflower with some areas replacing grass cutting and others which did not. 


            Councillor George Hardcastle referred to the impacts of climate change with the grass growing earlier in the season and asked if extra cuts would be required.  In response the Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) reported on plans to start the winter cut earlier and extend it but the season started earlier each year.  She explained the same resources were used to grit the roads and that in March and October each year grass cutting and gritting the roads overlapped and took place at the same time.   This was very difficult to manage but additional cuts were being planned for late January / early February to stay on top of this before the season started.  The Highways Network Manager reported in January 2020 a full successful cut was made but this advantage was lost as the country went into lockdown due to the pandemic in March 2020.  With the grass cutting season extending into the winter, the ground could become very wet and muddy, and the equipment churned up and damaged the ground which took longer to recover.  


            Councillor Owen Thomas raised the following questions:-


·           He referred to the last sentence on page 73 which stated cutting was to maintain highway safety and visibility.  He said in some well used rural lanes the high level of the grass was dangerous with a 50% loss of visibility.  They required cutting more than once a year.  The report stated there were 4 cuts a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57