This spring sees a new dawn for green grass maintenance in Ceredigion.
Over the winter period, the Council’s Grounds Maintenance Team have been busy working on a new specification for the maintenance of amenity grassed areas along with the creation of new wildflower areas.
Welsh Government Local Places for Nature grant funding delivered through Ceredigion Local Nature Partnership has enabled purchase of new equipment to deliver the new approach, including flail mowers and multi-use robotic mowers which accommodate a haybar, hay rake and mini baler. The funding also allows training to be provided to Council operators and technicians in the correct and safe use of the specialist equipment.
In the early part of the season, only the edges of larger open spaces will be cut, keeping the grass from falling onto footways and the highway. Where these areas adjoin road junctions’ additional areas will be cut to ensure visibility and smaller areas such as roadside verges will be cut and collected as usual.
The specialist equipment will enable us to harvest green hay from the wildflower areas and spread to other areas to improve seed bank of native wildflowers. It also opens doors to other possible ways of disposing of arisings such as in the form of hay or biomass fuel.
These mowers are very versatile in their application and operation with many built-in safety features. The machine can be operated safely by the operator up to a distance of 150m and the power unit can take a wide range of attachments, such as forester mulching head which can cut through trees, gorse and blackthorn, a bracken roller, wood chipper and snow blower.
The changes will have a number of positive benefits which include:
- Actively supporting climate emergency policies and the national “No Mow May” campaign
- Enabling the Council to contribute to the Nature Recovery Action Plan by increasing the diversity of native wildflowers that will flower in our verges and open spaces within the urban setting
- Creating, restoring and improving habitats for invertebrates and pollinators
- Reducing the carbon footprint of the service’s grass cutting activity
- Offering alternative ways of disposing of green waste other than composting and reducing vehicle movements
- Reducing the risks to operators when working on banks or adjacent to the highway
Councillor Keith Henson, Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management, commented: “We are always looking at opportunities to review how we deliver front line operational services. The equipment purchased has replaced equipment that was nearing the end of its useful life and allows us to deliver services in a safer, more efficient, sustainable and environmentally responsible ways.”
Rachel Auckland, Coordinator of Ceredigion Local Nature Partnership added: “We are delighted that Councillor Henson, as our Chair and Biodiversity Champion, has supported the County Council to take a lead on changing the way they manage the grassland habitats in their care. This new approach to mowing will make a significant difference to nature, climate and wellbeing across Ceredigion.”