North East Lincolnshire Council’s grounds maintenance team is into its third mowing round of the summer and cutting their way through almost 3,000,000 square metres of grass.
The area the grass cutting team cover in a full round is 2,938,000 square metres – that’s the same as 374 Blundell Parks, almost as big as New York’s central park, bigger than Monaco or about the same as 73,450 average size gardens.
Grassed areas include 270km of rural grass verges where a metre wide strip is cut to give a safe site line for road users, the gardens along Cleethorpes seafront and seven destination parks including People’s Park, Weelsby Woods, Duke of York Gardens, Sidney Sussex, Haverstoe Park, Grant Thorold and Barratts Recreation Ground.
Along with many other organisations up and down the country who have grounds to maintain, the Council had a problem at the beginning of the grass cutting season due to the late winter weather.
The ground was too wet or boggy for our machinery in some places such as verges, parks and open spaces.
This meant the grass cutting started a month later than planned but the Council has overcome these early difficulties and is now into its third cut of the season.
Cllr Matthew Patrick, portfolio holder for Environment, Transport and Energy, said:
“I’m grateful to all those who have helped by cutting grass verges near their homes.
“This is a big help after we suffered setbacks due to the weather in the spring and we’d certainly encourage this activity where we can.
“It’s great that people are taking pride in where they live and trimming the grassed areas near their homes.
“We have increased the frequency of grass cutting from every four to five weeks to three to four weeks, to catch up, and we will be having discussions with other community groups and organisations, such as Lincolnshire Housing Partnership on how we can work together for the Place.”
Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chair Cllr Steve Beasant, said:
“Not all grassed public areas are under council control, some are privately owned or the responsibility of other organisations.
“It takes about four to five weeks to complete a full round and we ask people to please be patient as we work our way around.
“Work like this is largely dependent on the forces of nature and, as we’ve often said before, we can’t control the weather.”
The Council’s advice to anyone who would like to cut verges in their area is to only do it when and where it is safe to do so and leave clippings where they fall. They will soon shrivel up in the sunshine and disperse naturally.
Cllr Patrick added:
“While the grass cutting rota in popular places such as Cleethorpes seafront and the main parks has remained largely unchanged, we have moved to a monthly cut in other areas due to cuts to our funding.
“People often ask why they’re paying more council tax when services are being cut. 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 last year. A loss of about £34-million. That’s clearly going to have an impact on what we do.”
As well as grass cutting, the grounds maintenance team are responsible for spraying weeds on the borough’s 3,000 km of footpaths including all obstacles such as lampposts and road signs.
It takes on average 12 to 14 weeks to complete a full weed spraying round and usually two to three rounds are completed in the growing season.
The team also maintains floral displays, the boating lake and 51 play areas along with the play equipment inspections, carries out maintenance works to more than 4,000 trees on the highway along with more than 4,000 trees in the Council’s maintained parks, cemeteries, open spaces and woodlands.