Councillor Encouraged Over Moves For Greater Biodiversity

Plaid Cymru councillor Colin Mann says he is encouraged at moves by Caerphilly Council to review the approach to grass cutting.

The Llanbradach councillor wrote to officials calling on the authority to review its policy of grass cutting to create more diverse vegetation and encourage bees, butterflies and other wildlife. He also complained about unnecessary grass cutting across the borough.

In a response Rob Hartshorn, Head of Public Protection, said they were pleased at support from councillors in a seminar for the benefits of biodiversity and a report would go to the scrutiny committee in February and then Cabinet  “with a view to getting more formal endorsement for changes to our approach ahead of next year’s grass-cutting season”. 

“We cut the bypasses twice annually (May & September). The first cut we only cut a one-metre swathe to keep visibility splays/sight lines clear and promote wild flora/fauna.  We cut it all back in September following seed dispersal for the areas to regenerate the following season. 

“As you appreciate, we have a duty to maintain sight lines and also crash barriers on the bypasses.  Also to bear in mind that cutting around lamp columns, clearing site lines for road signs, tree works, and also cleansing operations are carried out at the same time so the cost is not just for grass cutting,” said Mr Hartshorn. 

Councillor Colin Mann said: “I’m encouraged by the measures being looked at by the council to encourage greater diversity. There are great opportunities for the authority to show the way forward with a policy creating more diverse vegetation to encourage bees, butterflies and other wildlife.  Things are heading in the right direction but there is a very long way to go. 

“I do appreciate that some residents may have concerns about, for instance, long grass not being cut. But to counter that the council needs to explain through a public education exercise the enormous benefits of greater biodiversity for a better environment. I’m sure everyone would support that.”

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