Council’s grass-cuts ‘good for our wildlife’

Council’s grass-cuts ‘good for our wildlife’

A BIG reduction in Kirklees Council’s grass-cutting budget could be good for wildlife, a campaigner has claimed.

Jayne Barber, an RSPB member from Littletown, said bees, butterflies, birds and hedgehogs all thrive with longer grass.

There is controversy about a £1.3m cut in Kirklees Council’s grounds maintenance budget from April. About 30 jobs have been lost since last year and there are 15 fewer mowers and tractors.

In a trial until the end of June, grass will be cut once a fortnight instead of weekly in “priority areas” but less often in other places. Grass-cutting even varies in the same park, with some of it mown and other parts left untouched. In Mirfield, the state of Knowl Park has attracted criticism.

But Jayne believes the Council have unwittingly acted in the best interests of wildlife conservation. She said: “This could be a really positive move for wildlife. Wild meadows encourage bees, butterflies, birds and hedgehogs.

“Few birds nest in long grass but the insects they feed on can be found in that environment. I’ve left part of my garden to grow wild and have a robin’s nest, a beehive, hedgehogs, wildflowers and a variety of birds regularly visiting.

“My next door neighbour has a perfectly manicured garden and gets nothing like that. And a friend’s parents paved their garden and keep it permanently tidy, but are now disappointed they no longer get birds in their garden.”

Jayne highlighted as an example a small woodland next to fields on Shirley Road in Gomersal.

She said: “Just over 20 years ago this area was part of the recreation ground and had its grass cut regularly. The council fenced it off and planted a few trees and today you wouldn’t recognise it as anything other than wild woodland.”

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