Pledge to improve grass cutting service in Highland
The Highland Council and Contractor ISS have put in place measures to improve standards of grass cutting in public open spaces and cemeteries in the Highlands.
The move has come about following recent unprecedented levels of complaints about standards of grass cutting which were received by Elected Members and the Council in the past month. Problems reported were: poor workmanship; not keeping to the expected grounds maintenance programme; and excessive grass clippings being left on mown areas.
Grass is cut in Highland Council public areas and cemeteries by two contractors and the Council workforce as follows:
· Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross by the Council;
· Skye and Lochalsh by Golder Grounds Maintenance Ltd;
· Lochaber by ISS (with pitches by the Council);
· West Ross by the Council;
· Mid Ross by ISS (with cemeteries by the Council);
· Inverness by ISS (with some cemeteries and pitches by the Council); and
· Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey by ISS.
Director of Community Services, William Gilfillan, explained: “Following a relatively mild winter, and warm spring, the weather has in general boosted the grass growth rate. As issues are identified we are dealing with them as quickly as possible either through our Contractor’s or our own workforce.”
He added: “However, a significant number of issues raised were in the areas cut by ISS. We met with ISS Director, Ian Campbell, on Monday 30 June and following a constructive meeting, while acknowledging the warm weather and accelerated growth of grass, ISS identified that they were experiencing staffing and training issues within their workforce.
As a result of the meeting, the Council has agreed with ISS that they will prioritise high profile locations such as cemeteries, play areas and well-used public parks within their contracted areas of work.
Mr Campbell said: “I want to reassure people that ISS is committed to delivering the best service possible in Highland. It is my intention to immediately bring in a fast response team to deal with any issues that arise during and after cutting, particularly in high profile locations.”
Councillor Graham Mackenzie, Chairman of Community Services, welcomed the proposals from ISS: “I am pleased with the positive response from ISS and hope that this will result in visible improvements in the days and weeks ahead.”