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Into the wild

11 May 2022
Grass verge
Some grass verges will be cut less frequently this year

With spring in the air, and as the weather starts to get warmer, you may start to notice that some highway verges are being left to grow a bit longer and may look wilder than usual.

As part of our efforts to increase local biodiversity and wildlife habitats, we have instructed our grounds maintenance contractor John O’Conner to reduce the frequency of grass cutting in some areas of our four main towns, Letchworth, Hitchin, Baldock and Royston. With fewer vehicle journeys taking place, the move will also dramatically reduce the council’s contribution to carbon emissions, a major factor in climate change.

We’ll be cutting certain highway verges six to nine times a year instead of 12 to 14, resulting in a positive impact on the local environment. You may notice the difference more in the summer with cutting taking place once a month rather than every two to three weeks.

Grassed areas in parks and cemeteries will not be affected, and will be cut as usual.

We have also decreased our bedding plants in the district, which will also have a considerable impact on reducing our carbon emissions – growing the 30,000 plants in green houses – some in peat – to transporting them to and across the district. Around 600 square metres will now be turf and/or shrub, a much more natural and environmentally responsible way to keep greenspace. War memorials, cemeteries and sponsored roundabouts will not be affected, and will continue to have biannual flower displays.    

Councillor Steve Jarvis, Executive Member for Environment and Leisure, said: “With the renewal of our grounds maintenance contract with John O’Conner in April, we took the opportunity to reduce the frequency of grass cutting on highway verges, as a positive way of improving biodiversity in the district and reducing carbon emissions.

“We will also be extending wilding to other areas across the district in the course of the year.”

More information about what we're doing to tackle climate change.