Councillors argue over the cutting of grass in Calderdale
The impact of not cutting grass in public areas can depend on the eye of the beholder, a debate between councillors revealed.
Cutting grass in Calderdale’s public areas has been affected by an accident to a staff member this summer which triggered a six week-long re-assessment of practice and affected the sedrvice.
But some decisions on where or not to cut have been taken to protect nature, July’s full meeting of Calderdale Council heard.
This triggered different views on whether that left it untidy, including long grass meaning some dog owners were not picking up their pet’s mess and the resulting stink, or a haven, protecting pollinating insects this summer.
Safety issues relating to some overgrown areas also come into play, the meeting heard in the debate.
Cabinet member for Regeneration and Strategy, Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot), told councillors it was true to say the council had run into a backlog of grass cutting two or three months ago following an accident to one of the authority’s workers.
“That necessitated, as you would expect as a responsible employer, immediate examination of grass cutting, particularly on sloping sites, and what equipment id safe to use.
“The process took around six weeks, and grass cutting has been resumed,” she said.
Coun Peter Caffrey (Con, Northowram and Shelf) had asked: “Large areas of the borough are looking pretty unkempt.
“A number of reasons have been given for this.
“I believe some areas aren’t being cut to protect insects.
“I pull spiders out of the bath, so I’m for insects but there must be a happy medium between protecting insects and cutting the grass, for example at parks.
“Some of the roundabouts, you can’t see the roundabouts.
“And dog mess in there, they don’t pick it up, it makes it ‘hum’.
“What’s the reason for not cutting it?” he said.
Coun Scullion outlined the position regarding grass cutting following the accident and went on to defend instances where it was not cut to help insect life.
“You referred to the desire to limit it during the season of pollinating insects – I make no apology for that, we have talked about the importance of the environment,” she said.
Coun Scullion also said: “I would refute the implication that the borough looks a mess – there are parts where grass cutting has resumed where it is appropriate.”
Staff were working extremely hard to make up the backlog.
“If there are any particular sites where any member has specific concerns, where it relates to the safety of the public, the visability of signs and so on, those will have to be prioritised,” she said.
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