Highway grass cutting instigates debate in #Epsom @EpsomEwellBC
28th May 2020
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Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is now well into the highway grass cutting programme after the start of the grass cutting season was interrupted because of Covid-19.

Due to the recent sunshine and rain, the grass has grown rapidly and has become very long in some areas.  Council teams are working as quickly as possible to complete the first cut, but due to the length of the grass this is taking longer than usual. 

The resumption of grass cutting has prompted a range of strongly held views by local residents.

On one side are people who want to see the grass cut either because they strongly believe the uncut grass is detrimental to how the borough appears or because they suffer from hay fever and other allergies exacerbated by grass pollen. On the other side there is a growing number of residents robustly calling on the council not to cut the grass as often or as rigorously in order to encourage, wild flowers, pollinators and wildlife.

Councillor Neil Dallen, Chair of the Environment and Safe Communities Committee, said “we always get feedback when we start cutting the grass and this year’s views have highlighted the positive shift in thinking that has been taking place about the importance of protecting the environment and promoting bio diversity.”

The borough council usually cuts the verges up to twelve times a year.  Four of these are paid for by Surrey County Council as the local highway authority. The additional cuts are carried out by the borough, as in previous years residents have been keen to have short, neat verges. 

This year the council has received many requests to keep the verges longer as people have enjoyed seeing the emergence of wildflowers particularly along some of the more rural verges.

Councillor Dallen added “The council already do a lot to maintain and enhance biodiversity within the borough and we recognise that the roadside verges are often home to a wide range of plants, insects and other animals.  With this in mind, we are currently investigating ways to improve highway verge biodiversity in future years.


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