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Reduced grass cutting plan agreed - here's where it will start

PUBLISHED: 11:30 04 September 2019

Reduced grass cutting will take place in Saxmundham and Southwold - but grass verges will still be maintained. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Reduced grass cutting will take place in Saxmundham and Southwold - but grass verges will still be maintained. Picture: SU ANDERSON

Reduced cutting and chemical use on grass and hedges in two Suffolk towns is to get underway after proposals were given the green light.

James Mallinder, Conservative cabinet member for the environment at East Suffolk Council. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCILJames Mallinder, Conservative cabinet member for the environment at East Suffolk Council. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

But East Suffolk Council's cabinet which has agreed the scheme has said it is not about cost-cutting or shirking responsibilities.

A pilot will begin through the 2020 growing season in Saxmundham and Southwold where the council will ask locals to feedback which areas of council-owned land they would like the grass cut less.

These will then see fewer cuts, and the use of herbicides and other chemicals reduced.

The council says it will encourage insects and pollinators.

Labour councillor Peter Byatt said he welcomed the initiative. Picture: ARCHANTLabour councillor Peter Byatt said he welcomed the initiative. Picture: ARCHANT

Key areas where growing would be inappropriate, such as roadside verges and football pitches among others, will continue to be maintained as normal.

Conservative cabinet member for environment James Mallinder said: "If we are cutting the grass less it doesn't mean there won't be any maintenance.

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"We want to do this because it will increase biodiversity, that will increase insects and pollinators, and visually it will look amazing.

"It's a really good forward step for the council - we are a council that walks the walk and talks the talk."

He added: "It's all about education and explaining what we are doing - this is not a cost-cutting exercise and we are not shirking our responsibilities as a council."

If the pilot proves successful, the plan is to roll it out across the rest of East Suffolk.

It is hoped a group of volunteers in each of the two towns will monitor the areas where wildlife is being encouraged to flourish.

Peter Byatt, leader of the Labour group at East Suffolk, said it was a "really welcome initiative," and added: "It's about going with the Greenest County and lessening the use of any weedkillers, and certainly looking to make sure when people are told about this they understand it."

The measure is the first to be introduced after the council declared a climate emergency in July, and vowed to be carbon neutral by 2030.

The cabinet also gave the green light at its meeting on Tuesday night for a cross-party environment task group to be formed, which will look at measures to cut carbon from the council's existing policies as well as come up with new ideas, which all councillors and staff will be invited to feed into.

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