North East Lincolnshire Council

Grounds maintenance

Our grounds maintenance team look after the areas grass cutting, flower beds, parks maintenance, play areas, shrubs and trees.

We maintain 2,938,000 square metres of grass, 168 miles of rural road verges, 1800 highway trees, and around 5,600 miles of roads and paths.

If you need to pay an outstanding grounds maintenance charge you can do so on our Pay it page.

We mow a metre-wide strip along our rural road verges to give a safe site line for road users.

There are 270km (168 miles) of rural road verges in North East Lincolnshire and we aim to cut most of them once. Sometimes twice a season, if this is required, exception would be at road junctions where they may be cut more often.

Rural road verges are provide important natural habitats and we aim to time our cuts to allow wild flowers to set their seed and flourish.

Request an area to be cut by completing our online form for Road verge cutting in rural areas.

In North East Lincolnshire Council we have a dedicated tree team responding to any emergency work throughout the year. Routine work and non-emergency work is carried out through the winter months. These are starting October and we look to have all the work completed by April.

Report issues with park or street trees by completing our online form for Trees or hanging branches.

Our grass cutting team mows an area of 2,938,000 square metres. That’s about 73,000 average gardens.

Large parks, playing fields and sports pitches and the central areas of Cleethorpes are cut every 10 to 14 days in the growing season.

Most of our other grassed areas are usually cut every four to five weeks, but this can be affected by the weather and the state of the ground.

Grass can grow a lot in this amount of time, so please be patient as we work our way around the borough.

Not all grassed public areas are under council control, some are privately owned or the responsibility of other organisations.

Some grassed areas are deliberately kept long to help our wildlife. Areas where bulbs are planted are left for at least six weeks following the end of flowering to make sure that the bulb gets the nourishment it needs to flower again the following year.

How can I help?

We encourage people to cut grass verges and other areas where they live, it’s a big help to us.

If you are happy to help, please take care and be mindful of other people in the area.

Please leave clippings where they fall, there is no need to put them in a bin. Clippings will usually wither in the sunshine and provide nourishment to the roots. Please sweep any clippings that fall on the pathway back onto the grass.

Frequently asked questions

How often do we cut the grass?

Large parks, playing fields and sports pitches and the central areas of Cleethorpes are cut every 10 to 14 days in the growing season.

Most of our other grassed areas are usually cut every four to five weeks, but this can be affected by the weather and the state of the ground.

We also maintain four bowling greens, two at Sydney Sussex Recreation Ground and two at People’s Park. These greens need cutting twice each week during the Crown Green Bowling season.

Can I cut the grass outside my home?

We encourage people to cut grass verges and other areas where they live, it’s a big help to us.

If you are happy to help, please take care and be mindful of other people in the area.

Please leave clippings where they fall, there is no need to put them in a bin.

Clippings will usually wither in the sunshine and provide nourishment to the roots. Please sweep any clippings that fall on the pathway back onto the grass

How long does it take to cut the grass?

About four to five weeks to complete a full round, but this is largely dependent on the weather.

What time of year do we start cutting the grass and when do we stop?

The growing season is usually from April to September, however, this could change as it depends on the grounds conditions and the weather.

Why can’t we cut the grass more often?

While we regularly cut grass in popular places such as large parks and the central areas of Cleethorpes, we don’t have the resources to cut it as often as we used to in other areas due to cuts in our funding.

Why is the grass so long where I live?

This could be for a number of reasons. Not all the grass you see in public areas is the responsibility of the Council. Some areas are privately owned or the responsibility of other organisations.

When weather is very wet and warm, grass grows quickly.  If the weather is very wet and the ground becomes saturated, we cannot use our machinery.  If the cutting cycle slips and the grass grows quickly we are further delayed because it takes longer to cut very long grass.  These are exactly the same problem you might face with your own lawns – we mow more than 73,000 of them.

Have you tried planting wildflower meadows in some areas?

We are planting wildflowers in a number of areas where we think they’ll thrive and benefit local wildlife and the environment.

Why don’t we remove grass clippings?

We use a variety of large and smaller machinery and equipment, depending on the location. In keeping with other local authorities, we do not collect the grass clippings. Box mowing (where clippings are collected) is usually only carried out in the ornamental areas of the resort and bowling greens. Where clippings fall onto the pavement we use blowers to move them back onto the grass where they can wither and nourish the grass roots.

How can I report if an area has been missed?

We do not take reports for overgrown grass. It takes us about four to five weeks to complete a full round, but this is largely dependent on the weather. The grass is always growing in that time but please be assured we are working our way around the borough and will cover all the areas we are responsible for. We are working on a map that will show the areas we cut and when we last cut them.

Not all grassed public areas are under council control, some are privately owned or the responsibility of other organisations. Please check who is responsible for the area you think we’ve missed.

Why do I pay more council tax when services are being cut?

Council tax is only one of our main funding sources. The other two are grants from central government and business rates. Although your council tax has gone up, we’ve lost a lot of funding from central government.

In 2013 the main grant from central government was just over £52-million but it fell to less than £18-million in 2017/18. A loss of about £34-million.

Council tax now makes up just under half of our funding and we need to rely more on business rates, but these can vary. There’s uncertainty about how much we’ll receive in future and we don’t always receive as much as we expect.

About two thirds of our budget is spent supporting people – that’s older people, disabled and vulnerable people as well as babies, children and families. Only a small proportion is spent on other services.

A small team maintains our flower beds to keep them looking stunning and free of weeds and litter. We plant seasonal bedding displays in the parks, in the resort and on some roundabouts early in the summer. In areas where it’s appropriate, we are planting attractive, sustainable wildflower displays that encourage wildlife and need less maintenance.

Get Involved

There are a number of community groups who volunteer to maintain, improve and often promote a green space in their community. They are often very active on social media and are always looking for new members to join and help. It’s a great way to keep fit, enjoy the fresh air, meet friends and have your say in how the area is managed. If there is no active group listed, you could create one.

Community groups

Grimsby in bloom

Immingham in bloom

Friends of People’s Park

Weelsby Woods

If you have a group that is not listed here then let us know by completing our website feedback form.

We have a schedule of maintenance for the area’s shrubs and hedges. The most important part of this work is to cut back shrubs and hedges that are causing a hazard on our roads and footpaths.

Most of our work is done in the winter months as this is less stressful for the plants and doesn’t disturb nesting birds.

A lot of work can be affected by the weather. We will divert our workforce to more urgent activities during prolonged periods of very cold weather, snow or rainfall.

We need to focus our efforts where there is a risk to public safety. We will not prune, trim or remove shrubs or hedges due to reported shading, leaf litter, insect infestation, interference with television reception, overhang or bird droppings.

How can I help?

You can help by trimming shrubs and hedges where you live.

If you choose to do this, please only tackle areas you can reach easily from ground level, be mindful of other people in the area and please do not disturb nesting birds.

Report issues with any hedges or shrubs by completing our online form for Shrubs and hedges.

We control weeds along 3,000 km (1,864 miles) of footpath in North East Lincolnshire.

It takes about 12 to 14 weeks to complete a full weed control round and usually two to three rounds are completed in a growing season.

Weeds can grow a lot in this amount of time, so please be patient as we work our way around the borough.

You can help by removing the weeds in front of your home or in other areas where you live. If you choose to do this, please take care and be mindful of other people in the area.

Frequently asked questions

Why do we control weeds?

As much as we love our plant life in North East Lincolnshire, we don’t want to see weeds growing up through paving slabs, in gutters and in the space between pathways and walls. Left to grow unchecked they can collect litter, look unsightly and can cause damage to our roads and paths.

How can I help?

We encourage people to look after the area where they live, it’s a big help to us and reduces the amount of chemicals we use. If you are happy to help by removing the weeds in front of your house by hand, please take care and be mindful of other people in the area.

How do we control weeds?

It’s not possible for us to remove all weeds by hand. We use a combination of mechanical strimming and weed spraying to reduce the impact of weeds. We apply a ‘contact’ weed killer as this helps protect the public, wildlife and the environment and complies with the relevant legislation.

It does mean that only weeds present at the time of spraying will be killed. Weeds usually take between seven and 10 days to die back following treatment and any plants which germinate and grow after the application will continue to grow.

How often do we treat weeds?

We control weeds along 3,000km (1,864 miles) of footpath in North East Lincolnshire. It takes about 12 to 14 weeks to complete a full weed control round and usually two to three rounds are completed in a growing season. Weeds can grow a lot in this amount of time, so please be patient as we work our way around the borough.

How does the weather affect weed control?

For weed killer to be effective it needs to be applied in dry weather. If not, there is a risk that the chemical will be washed away before it has had a chance to work. This means that rain and winds disrupts our weed spraying schedule.

What type of weed killer do we use?

Along with many other councils in England, we use Round-up as well as a number of other products. These products are currently authorised for use in the UK and EU and are widely used in farming and other industries. The product we use is weaker than you might use at home. It has to have a low toxicity to be used in public places.

Why do our staff wear protective clothing when controlling weeds?

You might see our staff out and about dressed in white protective clothing and wearing face mask protection. Their safety clothing should not cause concern as it is there to protect our employees who are in close contact with the herbicides we use for long periods of time. We use approved herbicides which have a very low toxicity and which are approved for use in spaces open to the public, their pets and wildlife.

Why are the weeds so overgrown where I live?

This could be for a number of reasons. Not all the weeds you see in public areas are the responsibility of the Council. Some areas are privately owned or the responsibility of other organisations.

If the weather is wet, we can’t apply weed killer.  If it’s also warm, weeds grows quickly. It takes about 12 to 14 weeks to complete a full weed control round and usually two to three rounds are completed in a growing season. Weeds can grow a lot in this amount of time, so please be patient as we work our way around the borough.

Why do I pay more council tax when services are being cut?

Council tax is only one of our main funding sources. The other two are grants from central government and business rates. Although your council tax has gone up, we’ve lost a lot of funding from central government.

In 2013 the main grant from central government was just over £52-million but it fell to less than £18-million in 2017/18. A loss of about £34-million.

Council tax now makes up just under half of our funding and we need to rely more on business rates, but these can vary. There’s uncertainty about how much we’ll receive in future and we don’t always receive as much as we expect.

About two thirds of our budget is spent supporting people – that’s older people, disabled and vulnerable people as well as babies, children and families. Only a small proportion is spent on other services.

Report issues with weed growth by completing our online form for Weed spraying.