Future Grass-cutting standards set out at Community Services Committee
New standards have been set out for grass-cutting across the Council area to meet statutory requirements and achieve savings.
There is no statutory requirement that amenity grass must be cut, however, the Council has various duties to maintain public safety, deliver education in accordance to national standards, deliver a burial service, maintain roads and paths in a safe condition and support national play initiatives. To discharge these duties requires varying minimum standards of grass cutting to be delivered.
Results from panel and Community Council surveys during 2015 show that maintenance of burial grounds, sports pitches and play areas are a very high priority for local communities and the new arrangements will allow for prioritisation of these areas.
Grass cutting has been categorised into three groups as: Statutory with no scope for change of standard; Statutory with a reduction of standard or transferral possible; and Non-statutory where grass cutting could be reduced, ceased or transferred.
The amendment of specifications for grass cutting enables a financial saving to be secured.
Some parks, gardens and recreational spaces, banks, paths and urban verges, which have previously been regularly cut during the growing season, will be reviewed and some categories can be changed to Conservation grass.
It is intended that an allocation of the grass-cutting budget will be put to local area committees for prioritisation and local decisions in future years. There will be opportunities to also consider the transferral of some grass-cutting to community groups.
Chair of Community Services, Cllr Allan Henderson said: “This proposal allows for prioritisation of the grass cutting service across a range of areas. In this way, we will ensure our statutory requirements will be met whilst meeting minimum standards that enable some substantial savings to be made in the context of a reducing budget and a reducing workforce. This policy should also mean we have a more attractive environment for our wildlife across the Highlands.”