East Suffolk Council defends plans to reduce grass cutting

Bee pollinating Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It is hoped plans to reduce grass cutting and the use of herbicides could be good news for pollinating insects

A local authority says it is not "shirking" its responsibilities as it looks to reduce cutting and chemical use on grass and hedges in two towns.

East Suffolk Council's Conservative cabinet is looking at a scheme for Southwold and Saxmundham which will ask residents which areas of land they would like to be cut less.

It has been proposed to help reduce carbon emissions associated with frequent grass cutting.

The cabinet will meet on 3 September.

The council declared a climate emergency over the summer, with the policy being the first expected to be approved as part of a series of green measures.

As well as less grass cutting, the council said a reduction in the use of herbicides would increase biodiversity for insects and pollinators locally.

But the council insist maintenance on areas such as football pitches and grass verges - where visibility may become impeded by overgrowth - will continue, said the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Councillor James Mallinder said the pilot was to iron out any issues and see if the project worked before taking it further.

"This is not us as a council shirking our responsibilities," he said.

"It's looking at it differently and in the context of the climate emergency."

Graham Elliott, leader of the council's Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group, said: "I think it is a really positive step, but one where we have to take the residents with us.

"We are not talking about everywhere left to go wild - we are talking about specified areas."

The recommendations, set to run through the 2020 growing season, also propose to draw up a plan that will move towards a policy of no spraying and ensuring the pilots are cost neutral.

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