Maintenance of grassed areas in public open spaces and housing areas is undertaken by our partners Norse.
After declaring a climate emergency and drafting our environmental vision, we’ve identified areas where a more conservation based approach to grass cutting could promote biodiversity. This is particularly the case in those areas where longer grass is beneficial to wildlife; we have seen some areas that have become havens for invertebrates and pollinators.
Your local Town and Parish Council hold a list of the spaces which have become ‘conservation areas’. You will also see the "Pardon the Weeds" logo at these spaces, to notify residents and visitors as to why the grass is being allowed to grow.
If you would like to suggest an area that could be left longer to support our wildlife, please get in touch with your local town or parish council and we can discuss this with them.
Norse also carry out grass cutting on highway verges in the main towns and parishes on behalf of Suffolk County Council. Grass verges in rural areas are maintained by Suffolk County Council. Verges along the A47 North (from North of the Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft through to Great Yarmouth) trunk road are maintained by Highways England.
The grass cutting season takes place between March and October. The majority of areas are cut on a 4 weekly cycle and we aim to cut the grass across the whole of the district at least 8 times in the season.
There may be some variation to the schedule due to weather and subsequent growth conditions however most areas will receive a 4 weekly cut.
Some areas, such as at sheltered housing schemes and formal parks, receive a small number of additional cuts. Conservation areas will be cut once a year.
In peak growth season (June/July), it is expected that some grassed areas will become overgrown in between scheduled cuts, especially if there are spells of wet weather.
At this time of year, it may seem as though some grassed areas are being neglected however this is not the case and we are continuing to cut all grass according to the 4 weekly schedule.
There has not been a reduction in the amount of resources provided for grass cutting and additional resources are applied during peak season. However due to the size of the district and the speed of growth in peak season, especially following wet weather, there will always be some areas which become overly long irrespective of resources.
We do not collect grass cuttings (known as arisings) on verges, communal areas or open spaces. When long grass is cut, the arisings can be more visible for a short time however these quickly break down and do not damage the grass growing underneath.
Our district covers a large area and whilst our grounds maintenance teams work hard to cut as much grass as possible, areas may occasionally be missed. If you feel an area of grass has not been cut when nearby areas have, please get in touch.
Churchyards can provide beautiful and unique green spaces often rich in wildflowers and providing refuge to a variety of birds, mammals and insects. This is particularly important in urban settings where there may fewer such opportunities and the Councils approach is to carry out less cutting wherever possible but with path edges and desire lines managed to assist with access and ensure these valuable assets can be enjoyed by parishioners and visitors alike. We are always interested in having a conversation with parishes and churches about best way to manage churchyards for wildlife.
Grassed lawn sections in cemeteries are maintained every 2 weeks. In other burial areas within cemeteries, cutting occurs on a monthly basis. There are also areas which are kept as conservation areas, where grass is deliberately left longer to support wildlife.
We feel it is not appropriate to use herbicides on grassed areas around memorials and prefer to maintain the grass through mowing. Occasionally, grass cuttings (arisings) do fall onto memorials and whilst we try to keep this to a minimum, it is sometimes an unavoidable consequence of mowing grass, rather than using herbicides.
In a limited number of instances, ESC uses an approved herbicide to limit growth as part of it’s grounds maintenance programme. We are always trying to find alternative ways to manage areas to further reduce the need for this. This includes working with local communities to find alternative ways to manage our open spaces.