Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice

Grass cutting

We stopped cutting grass on 24 March following guidance from the Scottish Government. They stated that only essential services should continue to be delivered and ground maintenance was not considered essential.

We are now reintroducing services. Over the last few weeks we have been asked a lot of questions on social media which we thought would be best answered in these FAQs.

You’ve cut the grass in other places. When will you cut the grass in my area?

We started grass cutting in our cemeteries, golf courses, bowling greens and road verges on 18 May.

We started grass cutting in schools, social care complexes, sheltered housing and play areas on 29 June, although some of these have natural areas that have been left. We also restarted the Care of Gardens scheme on 13 July.

We aim to have given all areas at least one cut before the end of the grass cutting season but this will take around 12 weeks so please be patient. We normally cut up to 14 times a year, or every two weeks, weather permitting.

The grass round our way is waist high – how are you going to cut that back?

We have started to adapt some of our machinery as well as buying machinery that is more suitable for long grass.

It will take longer to cut back long grass. There will be very limited grass collection – this is because of the length of the grass, the volume of cuttings and the time needed to give everywhere at least one cut before the end of the season.

Where possible we will do a sweep to stop cuttings falling onto footpaths and pavements, drainage channels and culverts.

What’s the point of cutting the perimeter of an area of grass – why not just cut it all?

Cutting the edges of paths helps the public with social distancing by allowing more space to pass.

We are trying to give everywhere at least one cut before the end of the grass cutting season but this will take up to 12 weeks. Cutting the perimeter now means that the long grass isn’t getting in the way of paths and pavements and allows pedestrians to socially distance.

We are leaving bankings, grassy areas away from residential areas and more remote areas such as woodland and tree belts - many residents have asked them to be left to encourage wildlife into the area.

What about the football pitches – it’s the school holidays and the kids want to play?

We have started grass cutting on football pitches. In normal times pitches would not be usable until late August as this is the time we carry out our summer renovation. This year we have been unable to carry out renovation work so the pitches are actually available earlier than normal.

How long will it take you to get the cutting schedule back on track?

It is difficult to say how long it will take as we face issues such as staff transport, machine availability, longer grass than we usually work with and of course, the Scottish weather. We will work as quickly and safely as possible to recover grass cutting to an acceptable standard. This may mean working beyond what is the normal end of grass cutting season.

Why can’t you leave the grass long for the wildlife?

We have had many requests to leave grass to help attract wildlife and increase biodiversity in the area and we have identified areas such as grass bankings, areas away from house fronts and around tree belts and woodland perimeters to be left this season. We will see if this is a success and if it is we will consider continuing this. This will help us meet biodiversity targets.

Why are you cutting the grass in schools when they are shut?

There are 150 schools and they need to be cut before they open on 11 August.

Why can’t you plant wildflower seeds like other councils?

We have areas planted with wildflowers as well as naturalised areas across South Lanarkshire and have done for a number of years. This has been done in with community groups and groups involved the parks’ Green Flag scheme, as well as in partnership with Buglife, the invertebrate conservation charity, to improve sites around the Clyde Valley.

You ferry about the bin men in minibuses. Why can’t you do the same for the grass cutters?

We are doing all we can to get our workforce out there cutting grass but their health and safety is our top priority. We are following Scottish Government advice on safe methods of working and doing the best we can with that guidance. The council has a limited number of mini buses available but we have also increased our fleet to help get staff to sites. We have staff going straight to sites from home and working locally so they can go home to use the toilet and wash their hands. We also have staff getting to sites using their own transport.