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Changes to be made to grass cutting service in Harlow

Communities / Mon 21st Jul 2014 at 10:14am

CHANGES are being made to improve the frequency and extent of grass cutting in the town during the peak growing season to help make a positive, visible difference to Harlow.

The grass cutting season runs until the end of September 2014. The Council has been working with Kier Harlow Ltd to identify savings which can be made so an extra team* can be employed this season to help carry out strimming around lampposts, benches and signs where mowers cannot reach.

Councillor Mark Wilkinson, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “We have been concerned about the frequency and extent of grass cutting particularly around lampposts, benches and signs. This is due to the existing strimming team at no fault of their own not being able to keep up with the mowing team. This has left patches of long grass around obstacles and street furniture sometimes for weeks after the grass is mowed.

“Grass is cut less often than it once was and this has saved money for other valued services, but when it is cut residents expect the town’s appearance to be improved, and that the result does not look scruffy. This is all about making a positive visible difference to Harlow.

“We have been working with Kier Harlow to look at what can be done to improve the situation, and these extra resources can be brought into immediate effect. We know grass cutting is a priority for residents and we will work with Kier Harlow to monitor the situation to see that it improves.”

In Harlow grass away from housing areas, such as highway verges, non-sponsored roundabouts and many open spaces, is cut much less often than it once was. The aim is to allow grass and plants a greater opportunity to grow and flower, giving a more natural appearance and more variety than close-mown grass.

This costs less and supports more plants and insects, which will then support wildlife like insect feeding birds.

Strips alongside roads are cut shorter to maintain sight-lines for traffic and to keep them neat and tidy, however in some cases grass cutting is deliberately delayed to allow plants of particular wildlife interest to finish their growing cycle.

Grass cutting will be suspended during persistent wet weather or during very dry spells when the grass doesn’t grow as quickly. Each grass cut by mowers is followed up by a strimming team.

Essex County Council is responsible for keeping the verges safe and unobstructed and they pay Harlow Council around £40,000 a year towards cutting the verges. The Council carries out additional cutting to verges to help enhance the appearance of the town.

For more information on how the Council maintains open spaces visit www.harlow.gov.uk/landscapes

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